Insider Luxury Travel Blog urn:uuid:bd3f79ba-a16d-8474-710c-10d3174605b4 2019-11-18T16:57:59-07:00 Exotic Estates International Visiting Historic Waimea Town on Big Island urn:uuid:f61514f2-05f7-bbf3-3d3c-2825d1abef0c 2019-11-10T18:20:57-07:00 Historic Waimea -  Hawaiian Ranching Community with Farm Products, Good Food & Craft Beer

On the road to Waimea from the resorst of Hualalai, Waikoloa, Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea on the west cost of the Big Island (the Kohala Coast), you will climb some 2,600 ft. and notice a definitive change in the environment.

Big Island of Hawaii Map with Resorts and Waimea

While the landscape down along the lower elevations is definitely dry, up above, on the way to Mauna Kea, you will see wide stretches of green. Though it is only around 13 miles from the balmy Mauna Kea Resort area, it is a world away. As you climb higher, the green comes into focus and there is a distinctive country vibe, with antique farm houses landscaped with flowers and plants that feel somehow more Central Coast California than Hawaii.

Big Island Hawaii Waimea

This Hawaiian country town is oozing history and boasts a unique Americana all its own. Colonized for sugar plantations, the Big Island saw the arrival of many Portuguese families in the 1800s, who gave birth to the paniolo or Hawaiian cowboy culture. One farmstead, the Anna Ranch, which was founded in 1848 and is a grand example of the historic homes in the area, was settled in 1845 and is now open to visitors.


Big Island Hawaii Wailea, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Waimea is also the gateway to one of America's largest cattle ranches. 

Historic Parker Ranch

Some may be surprised to learn Waimea and the Big Island are home one of the largest working ranches in the US. Historic, Parker Ranch was founded in 1847, earlier than many ranches in the US West, and covers some 250,000 acres. Ranching culture absolutely dominates the area and is visible in historic buildings and in new constructions, built to reflect town's cowboy pedigree. Those wishing to ride horses will find stables in Waimea.

Big Island Hawaii Wailea Ranch - Farmers Market, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Big Island Hawaii Wailea Parker Ranch, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cattle on the Park Ranch.

Big Island Hawaii Wailea Ranch History, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Ranching Museum in Waimea, Hawaii

However, for most vacation home renters on this part of the Big Island, Waimea is a wonderful place to stock up on farm-fresh products. There are many working farms here and there is a great farmers market on Saturdays where you can find locally produced crops like lettuce, ginger and tropical fruits. Of course if you prefer to eat out, there are also several charming restaurants in town serving locally produced fare, as well as shopping centers with banks, supermarkets and drug stores.

Big Island Hawaii Wailea Farmers Market, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Farmers Market at Waimea, Hawaii.

Staying In An Architectural Gem

One of Hawaii's most unique and architecturally significant homes is located on the way to historic old Waimea town from Mauna Kea resort.  I visited the Frank Lloyd Wright Big Island Villa, aka “The Frank Lloyd Wright House," on one of our home inspection visits. As an lover of classic architecture, I absolutely loved this home. Besides is obvious charms, it is a private up-country home with views down the slopes to the Mauna Kea resort and the ocean below. 

Frank Lloyd White House Big Island of Hawaii

This home is the only house in Hawaii to receive official recognition from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which is noted on the plaque by the entrance. A wonderful experience for any Frank Lloyd Wright fan, the home boasts fabulous views of the surrounding volcano peaks and a lava-rock outdoor Jacuzzi.

Built into the hillside, the Frank Lloyd Wright Big Island Villa has a crescent moon shape with large floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow guests to experience the dramatic landscape when inside the home and cool mountain breezes to flow freely throughout its upper flowers, eleminating the need for AC.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Design

The villa features all of the built-in, custom-designed furniture familiar to any Frank Lloyd Wright home.  Also, the home is reasonably priced, because it’s not located in the resort areas, which are in higher demand. While you are not on the beach, you are surrounded by incredible scenery and get to enjoy a very special property. There are three bedrooms capabable of accommodating six guests.

Frank Lloyd Wright Big Island Villa Interior

Move Upcounty and Into an Architectural Masterpiece: Frank Lloyd Wright Big Island Villa

Waikiloa Village - Cute & Convenient

Big Island Hawaii Waikoloa, Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Also, lower down on the slopes, between Mauna Kea Resort and the Waikoloa Resort areas, you will find Waikoloa Village. This little town has a convenient shopping center with a supermarket offering all of the usual items along with some unique island favorites liked smoked ahi (tuna)! 

When renting a vacation home on the Kohala Coast, be sure to explore Waimea and take advantage of the local products and the country life that is throwback to another era.

How to Stock and Prepare for Cooking in Your Vacation Rental This Holiday urn:uuid:5b5135d8-0dff-3896-bc71-89691c652277 2019-10-04T11:44:38-07:00 One of the main reasons for opting for a villa-rental instead of a hotel is the access to a fully equipped gourmet kitchen while away from home. Whether you are cooking yourself or hiring a private chef, we have the best tips for you on how to best prepare for your meals.

Ask About Kitchen Tools Available

When planning a meal, it’s important to think carefully about what equipment you will need to make your recipes from start to finish. Most often, Exotic Estates provides detailed lists and photos of villa amenities but if you ever unsure of inventory, be sure to call your Villa Specialist to confirm. If your host doesn’t have an item that you need, think about ways you might be able to come up with a solution using what is available (using a coffee filter as a sieve). Generally, our villa kitchens are stocked with all the essentials for holiday cooking!

Plan Ahead

Some go-to meals that you easily cook at home aren’t as easy when away on vacation. For example, even a simple spaghetti and home-made meatball might be difficult without all of the spices and herbs that might not be stocked in a vacation rental. We suggest sticking to recipes that require relatively few ingredients to keep it delicious and simple. Thinking about pie for dessert? Skip the mess! Find a local bakery or dessert ship or grab some ice-cream to eat at home.


As suggested earlier, we recommend skipping the spice aisle as this is where the grocery bill can quickly add up. Instead, grab a few kitchen staples that can be used in a variety of different recipes such as lemons, oils, garlic and fresh herbs from the produce section. These are perfect items for freshly caught fish and can also be used to marinate chicken and steak.


Pre-mixes can be your friend while on vacation! This eliminates the need to buy sugar, flour, and baking powder just to make a couple batches of pancakes or other baked treats. We tell our guests to pick up a bag of high-quality pre-mixes to make pancakes or even to bread chicken. If you are not interested in buying pre-made, you can always make it at home and bring it along in your checked baggage!

Use the BBQ

Warm-weather grilling, and vacation tend to go hand-in-hand! Throwing fresh veggies and meat on the grill is a great way to craft quick meals for the family with very LITTLE cleanup. With everything happening outside, the kitchen will stay clean and you will have less to deal with. Simple recipes can be great for hungry travelers keeping the entire family happy and well-fed.

Pack Essentials

While lugging essential kitchen tools would be impossible for travel to tropical destinations like Hawaii, it might be beneficial for those traveling to some of our top ski-resort destinations. Our most highly recommended tool to bring along would be good, sharp cutting knives. If you are traveling by car, be sure to pack safely. Next on the list would be plastic storage bins and bags, as well as a reusable tote that can double as a grocery bag. We also suggest that our guests throw in their favorite spices and any nuts, grains, pasta, or oats that you and the family eat regularly.

Share the Duties

If you are traveling with other families or the rest of your extended family, plan a meal and divvy up the duties! You can assign your guests different tasks or items to bring/buy to make dinner and cleanup a breeze.

Enjoy Your Vacation!

Renting a vacation home versus staying at a hotel gives you the complete freedom to cook whatever you want, whenever you want! Cooking on vacation can be a lot of fun (as well as a huge money saver). We recommend checking out local farmer’s markets or food stands for fresh and local produce as well as buying your bread from fresh bakeries. Most importantly, relax, enjoy fresh local food, and have fun!

Maui Winter Vacation Precautions urn:uuid:06fa51ce-9497-cb94-d37d-b9ea6ad076af 2019-09-20T17:28:47-07:00 Maui Winter Precautions

Winter season is the best time to visit the beautiful “Valley Isle,” also known as Maui. During the months of November through February, the weather is cooler, humpback whales come to play in our warm Hawaiian waters and flights are more affordable! For the guests of Exotic Estates, we compiled a list of the top three (3) winter precautions to keep you safe during your Maui visit.


Generally speaking, Maui is a safe place for both visitors and local residents. Each year, Maui welcomes over two million visitors of which the worst experience is most likely a sunburn (don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen)!

Although the islands beauty and charm are inviting, it is important to remember that Hawaii’s ocean waters and mountains are both wilderness environments.

As such, visitors should always take appropriate precautions before hiking the rugged valleys and mountains or visiting the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands. Because we want our guests to be safe and enjoy their tropical getaway, it is important to always stay informed and aware when traveling.


The winter season, also referred to as the “wet season” starts from November and lasts through March. It is tricky to describe Maui’s weather in the winter, as it offers so many different climate zones and could also depend on what part of the island you are visiting.

If you’re looking to visit the southern part of Maui, this is considered the ‘dry side’. Kihei and Wailea areas are well-known for their gorgeous beaches that adorn the coast for many miles. While Maui’s west side areas of Lahaina and Ka’anapali are also fairly dry, just north toward Napili, Kahana and Kapalua you will see a significant change in weather with increased rain showers. The upside of the wetter parts of the island is incredible lush foliage.

Temperatures on Maui during the winter typically range between mid 70’s to low 80’s with a breeze during the day and drops to the mid 60’s at night. During this time of the year, you may also experience what the local residents call “Kona Storm” which tends to roll in from the southeast and brings steady rain to the drier parts of the island.

Other parts of the island such as Haleakala, upcountry or any within a higher elevation (Fun fact: Maui's Haleakla can see snow on its 10,000 ft peak), you may notice a significant change in weather, usually dropping to the mid 40’s and 50’s. It’s always best to dress warm and bring an extra layers, as it tends to warm up during the day. 



Be on the lookout for posted ocean safety signs. Posted signs are there to help protect and warn you of the hazardous conditions in the area. Some signs are permanent, while others are posted daily, depending on the beach and the conditions. If you are unsure about the sign or beach conditions, it is best to avoid the area or find the nearest lifeguard stand – this leads to the next point.

Maui Winter PrecautionsQuiet beach somewhere in Kihei, Maui. 

Do not swim when there are no lifeguards on duty. You may be a strong swimmer, but even the best swimmer in the world won’t be a match for Hawaii’s ocean currents and random weather changes; there need not be huge waves for there to be dangerous currents. It is always best to watch your children and avoid the shores when there is no lifeguard in sight or on duty. The lifeguards are there to watch over everyone’s safety on the beach. It’s best to use the buddy system when entering the water and if there is an emergency and you find yourself in need of lifeguard assistance, raise your hands above your head to get the attention of a nearby lifeguard and other swimmers or beachgoers.

Nakalele point on the island of Maui, Hawaii. famous for a blowhole which produces powerful geyser-like water spouts with heights of up to 100 feet generated with the waves and tidesNakalele point on the island of Maui, Hawaii. famous for a blowhole which produces powerful geyser-like water spouts with heights of up to 100 feet generated with the waves and tides

Northern storms also bring in winter swells. If the storm from the north is large enough it may also bring surf to the normally quiet south shores, followed by rain that is then followed by trade winds. While it may be exciting for windsurfers, storms from the north will bring large swell along the east and north facing coastlines making it dangerous to swim or snorkel. It is always important to plan ahead and always stay up to date with the daily weather report. The upside is that the viewing can be spectacular, with the world's best surfers and windsurfers turning out when the swell gets big.

A surfer catches a massive wave at Peahi, also known as Jaws, off Maui's eastern shore

Never turn your back on ocean waves. The ocean may look calm for a moment, but don’t forget there might be a wave on its way, especially in Hawaii. Always play facing the waves to avoid any surprise sets and injuries. The waves here, including crushing shorebreak that is a natual marvel to watch, can be much stronger than waves you are used to at home.


If you do decide to explore inland, take caution when hiking the valleys and mountains of Hawaii, as the terrain is steep, often slippery, and rocks may be loose. When hiking in the Islands, it is recommended to have a map and stay on designated trails - better yet work with a guide! (note that our Concierge can assist on this front). If a sign is posted at a trailhead that the trail is closed, find another to explore, as this often means that the rocks and ground are unstable, and someone has already been injured.

Also, be sure to check the weather prior to hiking, as conditions can change quickly and dramatically, especially with heavy downpours in higher elevations. Do not hike under bad weather conditions and do not hike alone. For your safety, always tell someone where you are going and watch for caution signs. Every now and then there are stories of lost hikers that make the national news.

Hikers on Haleakala Crater in Maui, Hawaii.Hikers on Haleakala Crater in Maui, Hawaii.

When on a long or arduous hike in Hawaii, it is recommended to pack essential gear: proper foot wear depending on the terrain, a backpack to hold your gear, water, a cellular device, flashlight, extra batteries or portable chargers, sunscreen, hat, rain jacket, first-aid kit, extra food, trekking poles, whistle, a mirror for signaling, and always carry a map. When in doubt, do not hike.

If you plan on making a trip to Hana during winter season, be on the lookout for flash-flood warnings. Waterfalls along the Hana highway may be flooded during the winter season and can be very dangerous in some areas. If this is your first visit to Maui, it is best to travel with guides or local experts. Hana Van Tour will show you the best spots along this memorable scenic drive.

3.     TRAFFIC

The Beginning Of The Hana Highway In Ho'okipa Along The North Shore Of MauiThe Beginning Of The Hana Highway In Ho'okipa Along The North Shore Of Maui

Keep in mind, traffic slows down to a crawl when it rains. It’s best to leave about 30-40 minutes in advance to get where you need to go, especially if it is raining. If you’ve booked activities, it is important to call in advance to see if the tour or activity is still scheduled. All tour companies are happy to reschedule if your tour is canceled due to bad weather. Check the local weather forecast online at Maui Now or you may also stay updated by watching the evening news.


If you plan on making a visit to Maui during the winter season, it’s best to pack a light rain jacket or windbreaker for venturing out on rainy days. Refrain from bringing an umbrella as winter on Maui tends to have sudden gusts of wind and rain.

Pack at least one pair of hiking shoes (ones that you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy) and pants, in the event you decide to visit the Haleakala Crater. That's it really. Basically, a good dose of common sense goes a long way in Hawaii as it does anywhere else!

Get Away from It All: 8 Relaxing Things to Do in Hawaii urn:uuid:05946da6-5ecf-8f40-e8f8-6a7728a75f07 2019-08-16T10:38:45-07:00 A trip to Hawaii comes with soothing mental images of relaxing beach or poolside days. However, there are other things that you can do when visiting the Aloha state that are both easily accessible and ultra soul soothing.  Some of these seem obvious, but if you make a conscious effort to make time for these calming activities during your holiday, you'll  maximize your recharge and get a lot more stoke out of your Hawaiian vacation.

So, in addition to hula shows, poolside reading and tropical cocktails, here are some relaxing and often free activities that can feed your soul.

1. A Glimpse of the Cosmos: Stargazing

For those of us who live in more urban areas, it can be difficult to do any stargazing due to light pollution. However, when you're in Hawaii, you can take advantage of the expansive natural beauty and dark skies that are free from the hubbub and light pollution that comes with urban living.

If you want to spend a night or two searching the stars in Hawaii, you may want to visit Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Mauna Kea is home to the Mauna Kea Observatories, which are privately run and exist at the 14,000+ ft. summit. It's set there to take advantage of the height and dark night skies. While you cannot go inside, you can watch the sunset from the peak. However, beware that the air is much thinner than at sea level and there are often extreme weather conditions - including snow!  Altitutude sickness is very possible at these heights. 

However, visitors can stop to stargaze at the  Mauna Kea Visitor Station, where amateur astronomers will set up telescopes for folks to view the cosmos. The center is at 9,200 ft., so the temps can be quite chilly and there is a risk for altitude sickness for those who are very sensitive. But, because you are driving, it's easy to get down to a more tolerable altitude if anyone feels off. 

**It's important to note that as of Aug 2019, the Station is closed for construction, though some basic facilities are available during the day along with portable restroom facilities.**

Famous Haleakala on Maui is another great location to go stargazing. While sunrises at Haleakala are so popular you need to reserve a spot, you can more easily plan to watch the sunset from one of the overlooks then stick around for some astronomical observation. The skyline is unobstructed with minimal light pollution, so it's an excellent place to take a break and just watch the stars. It's truly dazzling.

Note that Hawaiian mountains, especially these two famous peaks, are sacred to the Hawaiian people. Respect the places as sacred and take care of the land as a responsible visitor, asking for guidance from Park staff if there are any questions about protocol.

Otherwise, just being on a dark Hawaiian beach or in the backyard of your vacation rental is going to offer clearer skies than you find at home, if you are visiting from an urban area. Take advantage of your time and look to skies after the sun dips into the Blue Pacific. 

Mauna Kea Big Island HawaiiMauna Kea Observatories, Big Island of Hawaii

2. Explore the Natural Beauty of Hawaiian Forests

Hawaii is home to a variety of natural wonders. If you want to go beyond a day at the beach, try out a walk, bike, or hike through the verdant tropical landscape. The Islands have varied climates depending on if you are on the leeward or windward sides, with the windward or east-facing coasts being generally much wetter and greener than the west coasts.

A gorgeous spot is the Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most stunning day trips you can make during your Hawaii vacation, and it’s also considered to be a sacred place in Hawaii as a home of ancient Hawaiian kings. While hiking here will be a bit of a workout, it will bring you mental relaxation as you take in the gorgeous views of the valley, the Waipio River, the sounds of the forest and the roar of the waves hitting the darks volcanic sands.

Another easy spot for those less adventurous is Oahu's Manoa Falls in the Manoa Valley behind Waikiki. It’s easy to access and offers a sense of the jungle experience even on densely populated Oahu.

Waipio Valley - Big Island HawaiiWaipio Valley, Big Island of Hawaii

3. Yoga

Yoga fanatics will find their place in Hawaii. You can sign up for daytime retreats on one of the islands or have a solo yoga session at your vacation home. If you don’t practice at home, your time in Hawaii can be the perfect time to start this healthy activity that is both athletic and balancing. Schedule time to explore if yoga is for you.

Yoga on the beach can be challenging unless you’re in the right spot, but there are many wonderful parks that can offer a quiet morning location for yoga. Kapiolani Park near Waikiki is a great park for yoga and Tai Chi, as are the many parks in Lahaina, Kihei or Wailea, on Maui. Of course, there is nothing wrong with your vacation villa backyard. If you're staying at a resort, there are often organized yoga sessions or well-manicured locations for a little yoga.

Kapiolani Park OahuKapiolani Park, Oahu

4. Meditation

When it comes to clearing your mind and finding some inner peace, meditation is the perfect way to get centered and feed some positive energy back into your soul; Hawaii is the perfect place to do it!

For those already experienced in the art of meditation, you might be searching for a more secluded place to focus on your mindfulness. In that case, consider heading to Akaka State Falls Park in the Big Island. The highlight of the park is Akaka Falls, a 422 ft waterfall. It's the perfect place to meditate, as you sit among the combined beauty of the falls, the lush foliage, bamboo groves, and orchids.

If you’re a beginner, consider joining a guided meditation at a location such as the Mu Ryang Sa Buddhist Temple on Oahu, which offers both yoga and meditation. The temple is a beautiful place of serenity, and they offer a free guided meditation every Saturday afternoon. Be sure to check their website for details.

Another beautiful spot is the Bydo-in on Oahu’s windward coast. This place is fairly well traveled, but it’s still stunning and offers relaxing grounds on which to medidate. There's even a gong to ring at the start of your visit. You'll pay a small fee to enter the grounds. 

Byodo In Oahu - John Di RienzoByodo-In Temple, Oahu

5. Wake Up Your Inner Artist: Stroll Through an Art Gallery

Whether you’re an art fanatic or not, you'll find a thriving art scene in Hawaii. From public museums to private galleries and art fairs, there's plenty to choose from on all the islands. The Honolulu Museum of Art is a stellar little museum, which also runs tours of Doris Duke’s Shanri La, a staggeringly beautiful estate that heiress called home for many years. There is also the Pegge Hopper Art Gallery.

Perhaps one of the most well-regarded is the Louis Pohl Gallery in Honolulu. The gallery showcases the art of Louis Pohl. Considered an artist's artist, Pohl worked in all mediums, ranging from printmaking to cartoons, and went on to teach art classes in Hawaii schools. Along with art by its namesake, the gallery also features and promotes art from local artists and Hawaii-connected artists, rotating the collections monthly.

Also, Front Street in Lahaina is a great spot to browse galleries before or after dinner. 

Lahaina GalleriesFront Street Lahaina, Maui

6. Spend a Day in a Botanical Garden

With so much incredible natural beauty around you, you may wonder why you should bother going to a cultivated garden in Hawaii. However, Hawaii boasts several unique and stunning gardens, which will help you learn about the tropical flora of the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.

If you're a plant lover, plan a trip to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens. Located on the windward or east side of Oahu, these gardens are free and full of lush greenery. Within the gardens is the Ho'omaluhia Lake and a botanic library. If you visit the day after a rainstorm, you can watch the waterfalls spilling down the ridges of the gorgeous Ko'olau Mountains.

The Limahuli Garden & Preserve on Kauai is another place to visit, especially if you're looking to get a better understanding of the Hawaiian people and their intrinsic connection to their beautiful land. The garden is home to many native plants, as well as endangered plants, which horticulturists work to maintain and preserve.

Botanical Garden OahuHo'omaluhia Botanical Gardens, Oahu

7. Fun in the Sun: Boating

Naturally while in Hawaii, you'll want to take advantage of the blue ocean waters.

There are plenty of options when it comes to boating. You will find a kayak, sailboat, or yacht tour off just about any major tourist beach or cove you are near.

On Maui, several Lahaina tour boat companies also offer whale-watching and snorkel trips. Consider spending a day on the water to clear the mind. You can book these excursions along with your villa.

Boat on Kaanapali BeachKaanapali Beach, Maui

8. Enjoy Hawaii's Beaches & Famous Sunsets

No list of relaxing things to do in Hawaii would be complete without a beach suggestion. Of course, there are a ton of options when it comes to beaches in Hawaii, but some will naturally be more relaxing than others.

The Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is a must-see when you're on the Big Island of Hawaii. Its name comes from the unique black sand that makes up the shore. It creates a one-of-kind visual when the waves break on the shore, and you'll want to experience this amazing visual for yourself.

Kapalua and Kaanapali Beaches on Maui are both wonderful beaches to check out if you want to kick it on a beach that offers walk-to service, including drinks and dinner. Sunsets are also crazy beautiful, as they boast outer-island views of Molokai and Lanai.

Even bustling Waikiki has its charms at sunset. There is certainly something to sharing the experience of a Hawaiian sunset with thousands of others who have made a conscious effort to be present and drink in the experience. There is a certain peace to the moment that seems to connect everyone on the shore. 

Waikiki Sunset John Di RienzoWaikiki Sunset, Oahu

Remember to Book Chill Out Time in Hawaii!

We hope you’ll be mindful of taking time to recharge in Hawaii and not just running around sightseeing or touring. Hawaii is truly is the perfect place to relax, feed your soul and find some inner peace.

Top 5 Regions of the Big Island urn:uuid:16eef387-cd7b-9387-a52b-005d64c9f78e 2019-08-14T12:17:23-07:00 If you’re looking for a relaxing yet adventurous vacation getaway, the Big Island of Hawai’i is one Hawaiian island you don’t want to miss! The Big Island, also known as “The Orchid Isle,”  offers travelers an incredible and diverse variety of both things to do and see. In order to give you a positive and memorable experience, we have split the Big Island into five separate regions, each with its own highlights.

Hilo - Big Island’s Capital: Tropical, Rainy, and Laid Back

The Best of the Big Island - Exotic Estates

Aside from being the island’s capital, the town of Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island and home to more than 23% of the island’s residents. This tropical town lies on the eastern side, filled with cascading waterfalls and volcanoes.

The windward (east) side is considered the wettest part of the island, averaging about 140 inches of rain annually. While this charming town is not your typical tourist area, it is still admired by many. In comparison to Kona, time on this side of the island seems to run a little slower than normal and the people who reside in this laid-back town welcome their visitors with a friendly aloha spirit.

Hilo is also considered as the Cultural capital of the island, featuring historic buildings and old plantations. When visiting this town, you will want to stop by the galleries and museums in downtown Hilo. Whether you’re looking to learn history from the few museums, visit the zoo, or chase waterfalls--there are lots of fun activities and things to do in the charming town of Hilo.

Kailua-Kona: Beaches, Outdoor Adventures and Kona Coffee

The west coast of Hawaii is known as Kailua-Kona, referred to both as “Kailua” and “Kona”. On the leeward (west) side of the island, you will find the weather to be much sunnier than Hilo, however, the climate here is still humid enough to grow world-famous Kona coffee.

Kailua-Kona sits between Hualalai Volcano along the gorgeous coastline, featuring white sandy beaches perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. On the north side of Kona, you will find resorts, gorgeous beaches, and world-famous golf courses. The south side of the town is known for its amazing snorkel spots and lush, tropical forests.

The Best of the Big Island - Exotic Estates

Due to its central location and great weather, this historic seaside town has grown to be the lively center of it all. However, it wasn’t always this way. Not long ago, the town of Kona was a quiet fishing village. Today, it is the activity capital of the Big Island and best equipped for tourism. There are farmers markets, shops, and lots of restaurants within this area. If you’re looking to visit Big Islands West Coast, Kona is a great  home-base.

Waikoloa - Charming, Resort Area: Great Snorkeling and Stunning Beaches

The Best of the Big Island - Exotic Estates

The town of Waikoloa lies on the border of “Kona” and “Waimea”, also known as Big Islands’ resort area. If you’re looking for warm weather and great beaches, the village of Waikoloa is the place to be!

The town is located between the mountains of Mauna Kea and Kohala. While this area may be sunny, it can sometimes become windy due to the trade winds blowing in from the northeast and funneling through the mountain slope, offering a cool reprieve from the sun.

Along the coastline are Waikoloa’s anchialine ponds, maintained by the University of Hawaii and known to be an interesting part of Waikoloa’s natural history. Anchialine ponds are coastal ponds that have no above the surface connection to the ocean, only below the ground via lava tubes. The water in these anchialine ponds are a mixture of saltwater and freshwater, as it is connected to inland springs.

Waimea: Rolling Green Hills, Starry Nights and Dramatic Ocean Cliffs

Waimea lies on the oldest of five volcanoes (Kohala) and known as the biggest town on the North side of the Big Island. Sitting at over 2,500 feet, the average climate in this area is a bit cooler compared to the rest of the island, as low clouds meet with the rolling lush pastures.

The Best of the Big Island - Exotic Estates

Home to some of the most stunning hikes on the Big Island, Waimea is Paniolo country. Paniolo’s are considered as Hawaii’s cowboys and this area is great for horseback riding, hiking, exploring the rolling hills and/or rugged coastline.

In the state of Hawaii, there are three different Waimeas--One on Oahu, another on Kauai, and Waimea on the Big Island. Due to its confusing name, Waimea on the Big Island decided to honor the Parker Family by nicknaming Wailea as “Kamuela” (the name “Kamuela” is the Hawaiian equivalent of “Samuel”). Samuel Parker has a native Hawaiian heritage and played a large role in Hawaiian history; their family also own much of the land around Waimea.

Volcano Village: Rainforest, Volcanoes, Lava, Peace and Tranquility

Volcano Village is a small village near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Known for its beauty and tranquility, this quiet village is great for those looking to escape the traffic and crowds.

This rustic village is sits in the middle of a lush rainforest and is a great place to relax. The weather in Volcano village is 10 degrees cooler than Kona and evenings are known to be crisp and breezy. When visiting the Volcano village, although you can expect mostly sun its best to plan ahead by bringing a warm sweater and/or raincoat as there is often a chance of rain.

The Best of the Big Island - Exotic Estates

Most travelers visit the Big Island to see one of the most active volcanoes, Kilauea. Surrounded by the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is a perfect place to set up camp for a few days to explore. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the most popular attraction on the Big Island!

5 Biggest Surprise Costs for Hawaii Vacation Home Renters urn:uuid:25671ed8-78a1-a1d3-fbd9-3c45c10397e0 2019-08-08T12:18:28-07:00 Vacation rentals come with costs outside of just the base rental fees. While most of these costs are also incurred when staying in a hotel, as they are included in the rental-related fees, Exotic Estates is setting a different standard and listing these fees separately to eliminate confusing cost breakdowns that make it difficult to compare quotes. 

Take the time to review the short list of the main fees encountered at Hawaii vacation rentals below and please reach out to your Villa Specialist for further details.

1. Propane Gas Use Overage

Any normal usage of propane won’t incur additional costs. However, overuse of tiki torches, firepits, and pools are the main culprits. It good to be aware of your resource usage, and a Property Manager can help you determine your status during your stay.

Tiki Torches Hawaii Vacation Rental

Winter Pool Heat

Yes, even in Hawaii, though the days are warm, wintertime means cool nights and some guests prefer pool heating for comfortable swimming. Some vacation rentals come with heating and others don’t. Usually pools are heated using propane, costing roughly about $200 per day, depending on the size of the pool. The normal temp of a pool in Hawaii is usually slightly under the temperature of the air, ranging from high 70’s to low 80’s. During the winter months this can drop to the low 70’s, which is generally when guests choose to heat the pool. Although this will be presented to you prior to signing the rental agreement, be sure to find out what it costs if it’s not included.

Hawaii Vacation Rental Pool Heating Costs
2. Cleaning Fees

Cleaning fees are standard and, in most hotels, and hidden in the rates. When renting a vacation home in Hawaii, the cleaning fee costs are up front and are usually dependent on the size of the home, group, and length of stay. Some homes require an additional mid-stay cleaning fee. A standard cleaning fee for a luxury home in Hawaii will run between $450-$1500.

Hawaii Vacation Rentals Cleaning Fees


3. Security Deposit

Some vacation rentals are moving to a policy of collecting a credit card at the time of check-in in lieu of collecting a hard-cash security deposit. However, many private vacation rentals still require a refundable security deposit to ensure owner-protection against any potential damage. These fees are collected in advance and will vary provisional of the home and returned after check-out, and the home is inspected and any damage assessed. Due to the expensive nature of elite luxury-category homes, security deposits will range from $3,000 and upwards of $20,000.


Hawaii Vacation Rentals Security Desposit


4. Hawaii Accommodations Taxes – TAT & GET

Hawaii occupancy tax consists of two different taxes, which you will find on your rental agreement. This includes Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) and General Excise Tax (GET).

TAT is calculated based off of the nightly rate of your vacation rental and is 10.25% as of January 1, 2018.

GET is collected from every consumer purchase in Hawaii, included accommodations. This rate is 4.166% on Maui, Kauai, and The Big Island and 4.712% on Oahu.

The sum of TET and GET tax is 14.962% of your nightly vacation rental rate on Oahu and 14.416% in all other Hawaii counties.

Hawaii Vacation Rental Taxes

5. Resort Use Fees

Many of our vacation homes are located in resort-areas and allow access to resort facilities for a fee. Most of the time, these fees are due to the resort at the time of check-in and are not included in the original payment. For example, our Hualalai homes, located in the Hualalai Four Seasons Resort, include a daily resort guest fee that ranges from $65-$250 per person, per day, plus tax.

Most fees will provide guests with access to amenities like sports clubs and spas, beach and pool services, exclusive restaurants, concierge services, and golf courses. However, a perk is that sometimes our guests will enjoy a reduced-price access to some exclusive resort services, like at The Club at Mauna Kea, which offers beach-service on one of the Big Island’s best swimming beaches.

Hawaii Vacation Rentals Resort Use Fees

Still the Best Value

Vacation Rentals are still the best value for your trip to Hawaii. Vacation rental related fees will range depending on the island, style of home, and whether or not you choose to stay within a resort. When shopping for your rental, we encourage you to compare costs, especially those that might be hidden. Be sure to review any of these costs with your vacation rental agency before you sign your agreement.

At Exotic Estates, we pride ourselves with providing a clear and transparent breakdown of costs at the outset and our Exotic Estates Villa Specialists are availabel to answer any question you might have about a home in our collection. Guests all have access to our first-class Guest Services Department, which is there to support you during your visit and answer any questions on usage fees front.

Happy travels!

Snorkeling on Maui with Quicksilver urn:uuid:861f0c77-d724-88b4-9a14-1ad5286c2a0e 2019-08-02T09:38:17-07:00 While on Maui for a recent property tour, our Marketing Manager was able to work with Aloha Concierge to organize a fun and exciting snorkel trip with Quicksilver Maui. If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic underwater experience and how you can get prepared for your own snorkeling trip, read about Shanon’s expedition!

We started our journey on a Saturday at the Lahaina Harbor. We arrived early enough to be first on the boat and pick our seat as we wanted the best view. We grabbed one of the chairs on the upper deck giving us some of the best views on the boat! Although we grabbed our own coffee on the way,  the captain and crew are extremely friendly, guiding you with information along the way and helpfully serving coffee and continental-style breakfast. There are also two on-board restrooms available.

We were very excited to take a trip to the less-known part of Maui under the sea! Even though the start-time is early, it’s well worth the incredible boat ride along calm waters of the Pacific.

After boarding the boat with about 50-100 other snorkelers, it generally takes about an hour to cross the Au ’au Channel to the Pineapple Island, Lanai. Along our ride, we were lucky enough to see two pods of dolphins before ultimately arriving at our snorkel spot, Manele Bay. What an incredible experience to watch the local Spinner Dolphins swim and play with the boat!

Along our ride, we learned that Lanai, only 8.8 miles across the sea, is Maui’s closest neighboring island. Although the island is nowhere near as developed as Maui, Oahu, or Kauai, the island is now home to two lavish resorts, each with a golf course. Still hosting only a small human population, historically Lanai was agricultural land for what was the world’s largest pineapple plantation and even before that, it was a where the lawbreakers of Maui were shipped off as a result of their crimes.

Before arriving at the snorkel destination, the boat staff will provide you with snorkel gear, flotation devices, and snorkel instruction. You can also rent wetsuits and there is a freshwater shower to rinse off the salt after your dive. For those who may not be able to snorkel, there is also a glass-bottom viewing area so that you can see underwater while still staying dry.

Once you arrive at Lanai, you will see that the island is adorned with steep cliffs, rugged rocks, and coral reefs that are booming with sea-life. Large pods of spinner dolphins live just offshore, which is why if you don’t see dolphins along your way, then your next trip is free!

Once it was time for snorkeling, we jumped in and began our underwater adventure!

A trip highlight, hitting the slide before heading back!

After a beautiful ride to the neighboring island of Lanai, we jumped back on the boat for our ride back to Maui. We enjoyed a delicious and classic Hawaiian-style meal along with fruit, drinks, and local Maui Brews. 

This exciting trip was made easy by Aloha Concierge and Quicksilver Maui. With a team of concierges and over 50 years of experience on Maui, Aloha Concierge is dedicated to making your trip to Hawaii a wonderful time for you and your Ohana (family). Whatever your needs are, they can cater to each guest by carefully listening to your wish list and crafting a tailored experience just for you.

Enjoy the Aloha Spirit and ask your Exotic Estates Villa specialist about how you can plan the best experiences for your next trip to Hawaii!

Top Big Island Golf Courses urn:uuid:748ae359-2285-d6e5-68a2-764f73cd49f1 2019-07-31T11:44:05-07:00 From majestic waterfalls, to active volcanoes and gorgeous golf courses, the Big Island of Hawai’i is the ultimate dream destination for every golfer and non-golfer alike.

Home to some of the most unique and spectacular course designs crafted by the biggest names in golf championships, this Hawaiian island is also known as Hawaii’s Golf Capital. You may find some of the Big Island golf courses wrapped around historic landmarks, others carved out of an ancient lava flow or tucked alongside the pacific coastline offering incredible ocean and mountain views.

In total, there are 18 well-known golf courses spread throughout the Big Island. However, not all of them are open to the public. It is important to plan ahead by calling in to place reservations and check to see if there has been any updates or changes that interfere with regular posted hours.

Here are our top favorite courses on the Big Island, you don’t want to miss!


If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind golf experience, there is one unique golf course you won’t want to miss! Sitting alongside the rim of the active Kilauea Volcano in Volcano National Park, Volcano Golf and Country Club is known to be one of the most unusual courses on the Big Island. This unique golf course offers 18-holes and 6,547 yards of gorgeous terrain. Located just a quick 30-minute drive from Hilo and about 4,000 feet above sea level in the cool highlands, this unique golf course offers incredible views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. If you happen to be on island or find yourself on this course in the winter season, you will also have the luxury of snow-capped mountain views as your backdrop.


Designed in the early 1980’s by Francis H. II Brown, Mauna Lani’s North Course gives you a first-class golf experience on the Big Island of Hawaii. The original Mauna Lani course was a 36 hole facility but in the 90’s the course was split in half, now featuring North and South courses. Mauna Lani means ‘mountain reaching heaven,’ its beautiful name came from Mauna Kea to the north and Mauna Loa to the south.

The Mauna Lani Resort’s South Course was the first golf course before the more prodigious North Course was created and home to the original Senior Skins Game. Although Mauna Lani’s South Course received its public exposure from the televised event from the 1990’s to 2000’s, the North Course is known to be the more interesting of the two and one of the most popular tournament venues on the island.

South Course features ample fairways and approachable greens, giving you an extremely playable yet forgiving course. While the North Course is characterized by rolling terrain built on ancient lava beds and punctuated by Kiawe forests. If you find yourself on this course, you may also notice herds of feral goats moving from hole to hole throughout the day.

Lush with carpet-like fairways and speedy greens, the Mauna Lani North and South Courses are always in impeccable condition. While it is fun for experienced golfers, casual golfers will appreciate this course as it is much less punishing than the other golf courses on the Big Island.

If you’re looking for a dramatic landscape and gorgeous ocean views, Hualalai Golf Course at Hualalai Resort is an absolute gem. Dramatically situated in the black lava fields along the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, this beautiful Kona golf course is a short drive to the international airport and sports two fantastic courses--one reserved exclusively for resort guests and one private.

First course designed by Jack Nicklaus in Hawaii, this 7100-yard course hosts a PGA Champions’ Tour event each year and though its green manicured fairways are more than enough to challenge the golf legends, they are also great for golfers at all levels.

Dramatic lava rocks aligns the greens and stunning coast, dotting the fairways as it provides for some wild bounces if your shots stray away from the fairway. Stretching out over 7100 yards and demanding pinpoint accuracy, avid golfers will truly enjoy the championship tees. While the regular tees play to a very reasonable 6150 yards, offering lots of challenges yet rewarding opportunities.

If you’re looking to golf along the Kohala Coast, please keep in mind Hualalai Golf Course is a private course for registered guests staying at the Hualalai Four Seasons Resort. Reserve your Luxury Hualalai Villa with Exotic Estates to enjoy exceptional dining, spa services and a memorable golf experience on the Big Island.

Ha’ena State Park, Kauai - All You Need to Know Before You Go urn:uuid:d3ab70a9-3067-727b-da61-afe88fe8af38 2019-07-28T16:36:34-07:00 Ha’ena State Park

It’s official! After a year of repairs from the heavy downpour and massive flooding in April 2018, the state of Hawai’i finally announces the reopening of Ha’ena State Park, with some significant guidelines to be aware of when planning a visit.

Prior to the flood, visitors from all over the world would come to visit the gorgeous northern part of Kauai--not only to visit the charming town of Hanalei or Ha’ena State Park, but to also experience the world-renowned Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast, Hanakapi’ai Falls and Ke’e Beach.

For people renting a vacation home in Kauai or staying at one of the resorts up north, the Park will be open, but with important use guidelines outlined below.

Na Pali Coast Kauai

It has been said that on a busy day, the park would have as many as 2,000 visitors. However under the new plan to restore and repair Ha’ena State Park, significant efforts are being made to control overcrowding.

While the torrential flooding was devastating--destroying many resident homes and farm lands--local residents feel it provided time for the area to start to renew itself and recover from both the floods and years of overvisitation.  For over a year now, the area beyond Hanalei was inaccessible to the general public. Only local residents who lived in the area and contractors were allowed through.

Changes to Ha'ena State Park

On May 2018, the state of Hawai’i managed to finalize the Ha’ena State Park Master Plan, which will not only help control overcrowding, but also help protect its resources as well.

To protect the culture and natural resources from overuse, Ha’ena State Park is now subject to daily visitor limits of 900 and requires advance reservations to enter the park.

Advance Park Reservation and Parking Permit Required

Whether you’re looking to visit Ke’e Beach or hike along the gorgeous Na Pali Coast on the world-renowned Kalalau Trail, it is required that ALL non-Hawaii residents must pay for reservations in advance.

Please keep in mind, Ha’ena State Park does not have cellular reception, and reservations must be made prior to arrival. Vehicles without a reservation and permit will kindly be asked to turn around.

For more information on reservation and park entry, please visit

Overnight Parking in Ha'ena State Park

There is absolutely NO overnight parking is not allowed at the Ha’ena State Park parking lot or along the Kuhio Highway in Ha’ena. Parking along the Kuhio Highway interferes with local traffic and can cause hazards for residents and visitors alike.

Parking is very limited, please do not park on side streets in Ha’ena as roads are narrow and we also want to respect the residents who call these neighborhoods home. Fines and surcharges for illegal parking may be up to $400.00.

Walk-Ins to Ha'ena State Park

It is important to know that walk-ins also require a permit reserved in advance for your visit.

Kauai North Shore

Ha’ena State Park Shuttle

To avoid having to worry about parking and traffic, it is highly recommended to use the Ha’ena State Park Shuttle. Reservations for the shuttle can be found on, which includes your paid entrance to the park and also helps decrease the impact on the natural and culturally sensitive area.

While Ha’ena State Park is officially open to the public, road and bridge construction will continue along the Kuhio Highway. Take caution when driving along the North Shore Kuhio Highway, as the road is narrow with one-lane bridges.

When crossing over the one-lane bridges, we ask that you show Aloha and yield to oncoming cars. For more information about the Hanalei to Ha’ena road code of conduct, please visit

Mahalo for reading!

Sjanal Coons
Hawaiian Islands Specialist

5-Day Itinerary on the Big Island for Travelers urn:uuid:7153ae10-fb4f-1be2-c547-9c0af910be61 2019-11-10T18:11:56-07:00 Planning a vacation is no easy task—knowing your Big Island activities in advance is the key to success when choosing the right activity for you and your family.

The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest in the Hawaiian Island chain and home to many fun outdoor activities. This island is unlike your typical white-sandy Hawaiian beaches that you may see in advertisements or postcards. Instead, you will find the Big Island to be filled with unique landscapes: soaring mountains that can be capped in snow, lava fields, lush forests with towering waterfalls, and stunning black and green-sand beaches. The Big Island offer incredible adventures and unforgettable memories for anyone who’s up for an adventure.

Shanon Searls Big Island of Hawaii Landscape Shots

If this is your first trip to Hawaii, we recommend sticking to a few activities and making each day worth it. Remember that the island of Hawaii is BIG, it’s nearly 100 miles across and has peaks that reach 13,800 ft. It’s going to take time to get around this stunning place.

Big Island of Hawaii Map with Resorts and Airports

Big Island Factoid: Media coverage of last year’s volcano eruption on the Big Island made it seem like the entire island was at risk. In fact, the impacted area was only around 10 square miles and more that 100 miles away the popular resort areas of the sunny Kohala Coast on the Kona side of the island.

Day 1: Travel and Beach Day in Kona

Keep this day open--you’ve been traveling all day and want to allow your body some time to rest before the fun island festivities begin. Use this day to gather groceries for the week, drop off your belongings to your vacation rental or hotel, and use this time to relax by the pool or head to your nearest beach. Of course, we hope you’ll choose Exotic Estates for your quality, inspected Big Island vacation rental.

If you arrived early and ready to take on the day, take a drive up north on Highway 11 to visit some of the Big Island’s gorgeous white-sandy beaches located on the beautiful west coast--Hapuna Beach and Kauna’oa (Mauna Kea) Beach.

Mauna Kea Beach Big Island

If you arrived on island later in the day or are maybe running low on time to explore, we recommend ending the evening with a sunset dinner at any of the beachfront restaurants along Ali’i Drive or maybe some late-night drinks at Kona Brewing Company in Kailua-Kona.

Looking for an unforgettable night adventure? Head to Kauna’oa (Mauna Kea) beach after dark to experience what it’s like to dive and swim with giant Manta Rays! Year round, these gentle giants gather together to feed on their favorite meal of tiny plankton that are attracted to the glow of lights. Reef Manta Rays are known to be the second largest species of manta ray’s in the world and these mesmerizing creatures can grow to be about 18 feet long. As intimidating as it may sound, reef manta rays are completely harmless and well worth the experience.

Manta Rays Hawaii

Day 2: Beach Day and Ocean Activities

To get the most out of your vacation, you want to start early as early as possible. Spend your morning engaging in the sights and sounds around you, then head into town for a nice relaxed breakfast by the beach with family.

Don’t forget to order yourself a fresh cup of Kona Coffee at the Coffee Shack, located in Kona. This local coffee shack is known for its homemade pastries, delicious deli sandwiches and incredible views.

Ready to hit the beach? The Big Island holds some of the most amazing and unique white, black, and green sand beaches. After breakfast, continue south to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, also known as “The City of Refuge” or Honanunau Bay. Here you will find wood carvings, and old structures and learn about the ancient practices of the native Hawaiians.

City of Refuge Big Island of Hawaii

Looking for a great place to snorkel? Visit Pu’uhonua located on the southern end of Honaunau Bay. This beach is also known as Two Steps, named for the easy two step access off the lava rocks. It’s always best to start your snorkel experience early to avoid the crowd and give yourself enough time to explore other locations, such as Kealakekua Bay.

If you’re looking for a snorkel spot with easy access, head north past Two Steps and you will eventually get to Kealakekua Bay. This is where you will find an ancient Hawaiian Heiau, also known as a temple or sacred site, where Captain Cook anchored back in January 1779.

Kealakekua Bay is one of the most scenic and historic places on the Kona Coast. K-Bay is known for snorkeling, kayaking, extraordinary coral formations and spectacular marine life.

Snorkel Tropical Fish

After a long day of swimming and adventures, make your way back to your vacation rental or hotel for a relaxing night in or take this opportunity to experience a relaxing at-home massage under the stars (only in a private home!)

Day 3: Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by Air and Land

Many travelers visit the Big Island to witness three of earth’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea Volcano, Mauna Loa and Hualalai. Typically, this would be an all-day activity which may include lots of driving, as it would take many miles to drive to Kilauea and the rest of the day to explore.

If you’re not up for the drive, one of the best ways to explore this large Hawaiian island would be to experience a helicopter ride with our friends at Paradise Helicopters. With this tour, you will get two-hour total flight tour and approximately seven-hours guided walking tour of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Black Sand Beach, and Ka’u Coffee Mill.

Big Island Helicopter Tour

If you find yourself in Volcano Village, end your evening with a local dinner in town and visit the Jaggar Museum. If there is activity (there has been no activity for the past few months) after dark you will be able to experience the stunning glow of the Kilauea Volcano under the stars.

Day 4: Visit the Hamakua Coast

Get ready for a full day of adventures and exploring around the Hamakua Coast, between Hilo and Waipi’o Valley. This spectacular area is known for its gorgeous cascading waterfalls, breathtaking scenery and lush tropical rainforest. Below is our very own local-girl Nura-Nal taking in thr scenery from the vista point. You can hike down or even join an organized excursion to the Waipi'o Valley.

Waipio Valley Big Island

Make a pit stop to visit the World Botanical Gardens for a short and easy hike through the lush fern forests, you may even find a waterfall or two along the way. Continue north on Highway 19 toward and don’t forget to stop by UmaUma Falls and the ‘Akaka Falls State Park, known as two of Hawaii’s most favored waterfalls on the Big Island.

Akaka Falls Big Island of Hawaii

If you have time and you’re ready for another adventure, we recommend trying a Ziplining and Hiking experience over the famous triple-tiered Umauma Falls. On this adventure, you will be able to venture across their new 200-foot-long suspension bridge, race your companion down four dual Ziplines and experience what it’s like to cascade over a waterfall.

Day 5: Local Attractions and Souvenir Shopping in Kona

It’s your last day and you want to make the most out of it, here’s a few places to visit before you take off back to the mainland.

Use this day to visit a local farmers market, this is where you will get the most out of souvenir shopping or head back into town to enjoy local food that you can’t normally find outside of Hawaii.

Kona Farmers Marketing - Big Island of Hawaii

If you’re looking to get Malasadas, also known as Portuguese sugared and fried dough, you must visit Tex Drive Inn in Hanoka’a or Punalu’u Bake Shop. You can also get delicious Loco Moco at Tex Drive-Inn as well. Kalua Pig is a traditional Hawaiian dish, typically served at Hawaiian Luaus.

If you plan on leaving on a late flight or red-eye, try to squeeze in a fun Luau to end your trip. Haleo Luau Dinner and Show is located at the Sheraton. You can also find Island Breeze Luau and Royal Kona Luau in Kona as well. When attending a luau, it’s best to plan ahead and get there early to get good seats for the Luau Show. Luaus are often held in a gorgeous setting organized by the resorts on the Kohala Coast and in Kona.

Otherwise you can take this day to relax and enjoy one last day at the pool or beach. Always give yourself a couple extra days to pack and gather any last-minute souvenirs, this will also allow you to relax before heading back to the mainland.

Relaxing at Beach in Hawaii

Mahalo for reading about the Big Island and we hope you will consider working with Exotic Estates on your next visit!

10 Adrenaline Pumping Activities You Can Do on Kauai urn:uuid:32fa618d-ef49-ea18-587d-febf79d36d59 2019-07-11T15:32:25-07:00 Almost 1.3 million people visited Kauai in 2017.  Many people plan for their periodic annual vacation time, and Hawaii is an enduringly popular destination for tourists.

Kauai is the fourth largest of the main islands that make up Hawaii. It is known as the ‘Garden Island’ due to its green valleys, jagged cliffs, waterfalls and the tropical rainforests.

Even if you’re renting a luxury villa or staying at a posh resort, if you are an adventure buff looking forward to an adrenaline-filled vacation, here are ten things to do in Kauai that you’ll definitely enjoy.

1. Hiking the Kalalau Trail

The Na Pali Coast is an exquisite natural wonder and hiking the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, which leads to it, is the best way to take in this majestic coastline.

The soaring cliffs, blue waters, pristine Hawaiian scenery, streams and waterfalls within the valleys and untouched wilderness are just some of the natural wonders you will encounter.

You can opt to cover the entire 11-mile hike across the Na Pali Coast or settle on the first two glorious miles.

If you want to hike more without covering the whole Coast, then you can go for just the first four miles to Hanakapi’ai Falls.

Kalalau Trail Kauai

2. Catch the Sunrise at Larsen’s Beach

Larsen’s beach is an out-of-the-way stretch of white sand that offers quiet ocean views and walks.

For those early risers who are visiting Kauai, this can be a wonderful place for you to start your day on the Garden Isle. You can wake up early and catch the sunrise since the beach is east facing.

Once the sun has risen, you will likely have the beach to yourself or a few other souls. Bring a book or paper and read in silence or enjoy some semi-private sunbathing.

3. Have Fun in The Water at Shipwreck’s Beach

If you are a surfer or surfing enthusiast, then visiting the Shipwreck’s beach down near Poipu will be a fun outing in Kauai.

The beach features waves that crash along the shoreline and reef, beckoning the surfer or boogie boarder to catch a ride.

Should you only fancy watching, head over to the rock formation next to the beach and climb up the trail for a fantastic view.

Due to the breaking surf, it’s not good for swimming or children, as the waves and currents that surfers love make it treacherous for casual beachgoers.

Shipwreck's Beach Kauai

4. Get to the Top of the Sleeping Giant

Behind Wailua, the mountains form the shape of a sleeping giant as best seen from the city of Kapa’a perspective below.

The Sleeping Gant is a 3.5-mile hike which is moderate in nature. The trail terminates at the top of the Nounou mountain which has a stunning view and is a favorite picnic spot.

The terrain is known to become muddy and slippery, so plan your hike with that in mind.

Kauai Sleeping Giant Mountain - John Di Rienzo

5. Kayak Along the Wailua River

The 100-foot Uluwehi Falls that the locals have nicknamed ‘Secret Falls’ is a breathtaking sight.

While the falls are an open secret, getting to them is still not easy. You can opt for a guided tour if you have the time or set up a kayaking excursion along the Wailua River and then take a short hike to get to the waterfall.

You will be kayaking upstream as you head to the waterfall, so prepare for a ride against the current.

Wailua River Kauai

6. Witness the Waimea Canyon's Dramatic Vistas

If you are landscape buff, then seeing the colorful ravines of Waimea Canyon has to be one the best things to do in Kauai.

Waimea Canyon is ten miles long and more than 3,600 feet deep. It bursts with colors that rival the Grand Canyon and the image will stay with you for a long time. Hence its nickname, “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

Don’t forget to carry a jacket as it can get quite windy at the higher viewing sights.

Wimea Canyon Kauai

7.  Jump into the Queen’s Bath

The Queen’s Bath is a pool created by the ocean water coming in with the tide and crashing over a natural pool in the rocky shoreline. Technically, it is a sinkhole with rocks around it shaped in a way as to allow the pooling of water by waves washing over the rocks.

The visceral nature of the waves crashing into it (especially during the cooler months) makes diving into the pool an adrenalin adventure.

It’s important to note that during the winter, this water can be too rough to make swimming in the bath safe, so please be sure to check the day’s surf report to swim safely.

8. Take a Hardcore Hike to Blue Hole of Mt. Waialeale

Some waterfalls in Kauai require an extremely difficult hike to get to them. If you are an adventure buff, then a trip to the Blue Hole of Mt. Waialeale will definitely get your adrenaline pumping.

The Blue hole is where the falls come down the wall, and it so happens to be one of the wettest places on earth.

The hike to get to the Blue Hole is tricky and can be dangerous. You can get lost in the jungle while facing flash floods. It’s a good idea to secure a local guide or only go if you’re an experienced hiker.

Mt. Waialeale Kauai

9. A Kauai Helicopter Tour

Taking a helicopter tour around Kauai will get you to see waterfalls that are otherwise inaccessible.

The pilot can also take down into the ravine of the Waimea Canyon, which gives you a much closer look at the colorful landscape.

To make the flight even more exhilarating, choose a doors-off helicopter tour. Wow!

10. Check out the Spouting Horn

Located in the South Shore of Kauai, the Spouting Horn is an extremely popular photography attraction.

The horn is a lava tube, which makes the water shoot up when the waves crash against the shore, creating a blowhole of sorts. The magnificent jet of water can get as high as 50 feet.

If you’re lucky you can also spot humpback whales when you visit between December and May.

So, are you read to explore Kauai?  We hope so, as it’s a special Hawaiian island, unique in the chain and all the world.

Exotic Estates goes above and beyond to service the needs of its discerning travelers looking for quality vacation rentals. Talk to us today for a tailored luxury Kauai holiday experience filled with adventure.

Top 5 Unique Beaches on the Big Island of Hawai’i urn:uuid:41329b41-73f1-13b6-6b7e-6242e6aef0e8 2019-11-09T21:56:57-07:00 The Island of Hawai’i, also known as the Big Island, is home to some of the most captivating and unique beaches in Hawaii. As this young Hawaiian Island continues to adapt and take shape, its multi-hued shoreline is unlike any of the white pristine sandy beaches that you may find on the ‘older’ Hawaiian Islands. From black sand beaches, to crystal green sand, to newly formed lava rocks, there is no surprise that visitors from all over the world come to experience these beautiful and diverse beaches.

Most of the popular white-sand beaches can be found on the west coast, near Kona and Kohala coast. While the black and green sandy beaches are found primarily near the volcano, located on the rugged southern coast of the Big Island. We suggest taking at least a day to travel from your vacation rental to visit one or two of the beaches, and possibly even a bike tour around the volcano!

Down on the South Shore of the Big Island are two of the iconic beaches known as the green (Papakolea) and black sand beaches (Punalu’u).

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsPapakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea​ is one of the only two green sand beaches in the United States. This exclusive beach is difficult to reach, yet, one you don’t want to miss. Carved in a 49,000-year-old cinder cone from the Mauna Loa volcano, the green olivine crystal and white sand mixed with black lava is what gave this beach its name. This beach is great for hiking along the coast, sightseeing and exploring ancient temples (“Heiau” is Hawaiian for ancient temple or sacred site).

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsPapakolea Green Sand Beach

While swimming may be possible, it is best to take caution as the surf can be rough. There are no lifeguards or facilities at Papakolea, so beware of conditions before getting in the water and we also suggest bringing enough food and water and be sure to pack essentials, such as sunblock, beach umbrella or a hat, as coverage from the sun may be limited. To get to this beach, it involves both driving to the southernmost tip of the island and hiking 2.5 miles. Avoid weekends and start early if you would like to beat the heat or avoid the large crowd. We promise it’s worth the trip!

Punalu’u​ is the most famous black sand beach on the Big Island. The sand is made up of small black fragments of old lava rocks. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is located between the town of Kona and Hilo and is easily accessible from Volcano Village near Hawaii’s Volcano National Park. This rare beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, turtle sightings, camping (with a permit), picnics and hiking along the coast. While swimming is possible, it is best to always enter cautiously and avoid turning your back on the waves, as the currents can be strong at times.

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsPunalu'u Black Sand Beach

The Big Island’s east coast may not be popular for its beaches, but it’s known to have one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline and scenery on the island. Receiving nearly 85 inches of rainfall per year, this area is full of lush tropical rainforests, fabulous waterfalls, and serene green valleys. Located towards the south/east side of Hilo, you will find the best and easiest beaches for you to visit. ​


Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsRichardson's Beach adn Ocean Park Tide Pools

Richardson’s Beach and Ocean Park​ is the closest to Hilo, not to mention the best choice for snorkeling and picnics. The ocean is a mix of spring water fed by freshwater forming ponds near the beach. This beach is great for families traveling with children, as the water is calm and tide pools will keep the kids entertained with its spectacular marine life. Although there will be a lifeguard on duty between 7am and 7pm, it is best to keep an eye on your children at all times. Richardson’s tends to get very busy on weekends so to avoid the crowd we recommend starting early to find parking.

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsBig Islands Kiholo Bay

The gorgeous West Coast of the Big Island is blessed with sunshine and warm weather. There are 14 beaches on the west coast of the Big Island and ​Kiholo Bay​ is one of our favorites! Located in a beautiful bay that offers good swimming conditions, this beach is perfect for snorkeling, exploring tide pools, and relaxing by the ocean and soaking up the sun. For beach access, visitors must use the public beach path until you reach the tide pools.

If you’re looking for white sandy beaches, the north coast near Waimea and Kohala Resorts come very close to what we call paradise. With its few black sand beaches surrounded by 1000+ foot high cliffs and lush green forests covering every hillside, it’s no wonder why this side of the Big Island is a beach lover’s favorite. Waipi’o Valley and Black Sand Beach ​is home to about 50 local Hawaiians.

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation RentalsWaipi'o Valley & Black Sand Beach

This beach is known for its rip currents and high surf, it is not recommended for swimming. While this beach is difficult to access, it is known to be a great place to relax after a long hike into the valley and features some of the most incredible views. If you’re lucky enough and only after a heavy day of rainfall, you may be able to see the Kaluahine Falls located on your right-hand side once you’ve reached the beach. If you are not up for the hike, Waipi’o Valley can be reached several ways. The best way to access this valley and black sand beach is to take a fully organized tour, shuttle ride, horseback, or mule drawn wagon.

Top 5 Beaches, Big Island, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Experts, Exotic Estate Luxury Vacation Rentals

At Exotic Estates, you will have a wide variety of luxury vacation villas to choose from. Whether you are looking for a resort-style villa with top-notch amenities or large private estate to accommodate the entire family, our Exotic Estates Villa Specialists can help you find the perfect home for your Big Island retreat. Start planning your Hawaiian summer getaway today!

Family Fun: Your Guide to Vacationing in Hawaii with Kids urn:uuid:1f24ea08-ad53-9d35-5c2d-e9f544ae3f72 2019-05-31T14:00:05-07:00 You want to experience the luxury of Hawaii, but you also want a vacation the kids can enjoy.  Who says you can't have both? 

Here are a few activities that parents and kids alike will enjoy so that you can book your villa knowing you're ready to make the most of the Aloha state. 

The Islands

Before you book your villa rental, you first have to know which island you want to visit. 

There are eight islands in Hawaii

  1. Hawaii - the "Big Island"
  2. Kauai - the "Garden Isle"
  3. Maui - the "Valley Isle"
  4. Oahu - the "Gathering Place" home to Honolulu and Waikiki.
  5. Molokai - the "Friendly Isle"
  6. Lanai - the "Pineapple Isle"
  7. Niihau - the "Forbidden Isle" so called as it is privately owned by the Robinson family with very restricted access
  8. Kahoolawe - an uninhabited reserve off South Maui that is only accessible via volunteer activities held a few times per year.

The Big Island, Maui, and Oahu are the most popular destinations for tourists. If you don't visit any of the other islands, you can still get a sense of Hawaii's unique splendor. 

Big Island

The Big Island is deserving of its name--it's the largest island in the United States as well as the largest island in Hawaii. 

It's also the most dynamic of the eight islands, housing 12 of the world's 14 climate zones. With just a short drive, you could go from a rainforest dripping with orchids to balmy pastureland to the snow-tipped peak of Mauna Kea. 

And if you want something other than the deep blue sea, the Big Island has a sea of lava, miles of rippling black stone as far as you can see. 

The land itself is a thing of luxury and beauty. So if you want to appreciate the island at its best, make the most of the natural splendor around you. 

Big Island of Hawaii - John Di Rienzo

Botanical Gardens

The best place to start appreciating Mother Nature's best gifts is by taking in the botanical gardens on the island. Plus, you won't have to worry about balancing kids on hiking paths. 

There's Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which displays more than 2,000 rare and exotic plants including orchids, heliconias, bromeliads and more. It's based in a 40-acre valley that acts as a natural greenhouse, between the climate and the rich volcanic soil. 

There's also the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, which supports Hawaiian cultural traditions of cultivation and land use. It's a rich display, with over 200 species of plants on display. 

Akaka Falls

If you want to take the kids on a bit of a hike with a beautiful view, take them to Akaka Falls. 

The hike is just under half a mile, filled with orchids and draping ferns. You'll see the 100-foot Kahuna Falls first. If that seems huge, wait until you round the bend. Akaka Falls is 442-feet of water pouring into a gorge. 

Akaka Falls Big Island of Hawaii


If you've never had a religious experience, you might just discover one by watching the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. 

Haleakala Maui Exotic Estates

When you book a villa in Maui, you're signing up for a vacation in the playground of Hawaii. It's the home of gorgeous beaches (80, more than any other island), with a different temperament at each individual shore. 

You could visit every beach in Maui and get a different experience every time. 

Maui Beaches - Exotic Estates

Molokini Snorkeling Tour

So if you want to show your family the best that Maui has to offer, start with the beach (and the vibrant life that's just beneath the waves). 

The best place to start is the Molokini crater, a volcanic atoll just off the coast of Maui. It offers visibility up to 150 feet, with 250 species of marine life. 

Molokini Crater Exotic Estates Maui

The Road to Hana

If your family prefers adventures that are land-based and a bit less active (but no less rewarding) check out the Road to Hana, the crowning glory of "stop the car!" experiences. 

How long it takes depends on how often you stop. You'll want to stop constantly so that you can breathe in the air and take in the views up close. 

The best way to do this is to rent a car, research the stops beforehand, pack a picnic lunch, and take your sweet time through the scenic route. 

Lanai Cat Sanctuary

While this is another island, we include Lanai under Maui since it's a great day trip from Maui. Daily ferry crossing to Lanai are run out of Lahaina. If you have kids who love cats, we highly recommend a visit to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is home to more than 500 cute kitties and the staff let you wander through their domain and interact with them. They come in all colors and sizes and are friendly as they're used to visitors. They may even let you shake the treat can and have them all come running!

Lanai Cat Sanctuary - John Di Rienzo


Oahu is often the first port of call for Hawaii visitors, with a surprisingly urban appearance at first blush. But once you explore the Waikiki Beach and hotel district and venture out, you'll discover gorgeous views of the mountains and oceans. 

Waikiki Beach Oahu Exotic Estates

Take the time to be adventurous in Oahu--you'll love what you find. 

Hanauma Bay State Park

If you need somewhere to get started, try Hanauma Bay State Park

The bay offers a pristine marine habitat. If you want to get acquainted with the aquatic life around the island, this is the place to do it. 

Don't be taken aback by the crowds--Hanauma attracts more than 3,000 visitors a day. The park will keep you plenty busy, not just showing you the marine life but also teaching you how to care for it. 

Hanauma Bay Oahu - Exotic Estates

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is a must-see for your budding history buff. 

It was established to showcase the heirlooms of the royal Kamehameha family, as well as a collection of over a million Hawaiian objects, photographs, and documents. 

Today, the museum is the premier cultural history institution in the Pacific, with artifacts from a range of Pacific cultures while still preserving and promoting the interests of native Hawaiians. 

Adventuring in Hawaii with Kids?

Hawaii with kids is an experience like no other. You can revel in the sunshine and the beach while the kids experience something they'll never forget. 

It all starts with the right Hawaii villa rental

Hawaii Family Vacation - Exotic Estates

We believe in doing more for our guests and visitors. Whether you're looking for a world-class villa or a charming, family-friendly hideaway, we can help you find the vacation home you need. 

If you're ready to book your stay in paradise, click here to take a look at our available villas. 

7 Best Things To Do In Kauai urn:uuid:ed129e6b-740e-0dc8-b313-5aa243928a95 2019-05-27T12:42:47-07:00 Kauai is the forth largest island in Hawaii. It receives 100,000 to 140,000 tourists monthly. The amazing waterfalls, scenic and adventurous destinations serve as some of the features that attract numerous visitors! 

It’s an excellent location for tourists who travel in groups or as couples.The best time to visit Kauai is from April to June and also in September and November.

During these months, the weather is pleasant, making adventures like swimming and kayaking manageable. Also, during this time, fights and vacation rentals can be have more availability. While you'll be arriving at Kauai by air – at Lihue Airport – traveling from one place to another will be mainly by road.

Planning a vacation to Kauai Island is the best way to an exciting adventure. Here are the best things to do in Kauai.


1. North Shore Drive

A drive down the North Shore can lead you to the beautiful Hanalei Valley. At this point, you can check out Hanalei Town, Hanalei Pier, and Hanalei Bay. From Hanalei, you can head to the most beautiful beaches, including Wainiha Beach, Lumaha’i, Tunnels, and Kepuhi Beach.

Other destinations you can visit along the shore include the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, 'Ainini Beach, and Secret Beach among other stops.

Exploring the North Shore should take at least two days. It's quite an adventure that'll need you to spend some time at each stop to fully enjoy each destination without hurry.

North Shore Kauai

2. Golf Vacation

If you’re looking for a golf vacation, you’ve found the right island! Kauai is less of a commercial island and is a more laid-back paradise, with mouth-gaping golf courses rated among the world's best. 

Kauai Island hosts nine golf courses:

  • The Club at Kukuiula (pictured below - Kukuiula offers bungalows, cottages and villas!)
  • Kukuiolono Golf Club
  • Hokuala Kauai
  • Princeville Makai Golf Club
  • The Ocean Course at Hokuala
  • Poipu Bay Golf Course
  • Kiahuna Golf Club
  • Puakea Golf Course
  • Wailua Golf Course

The most exciting thing about Kauai's golf courses is their scenic but challenging terrain. Playing golf with other people would be an ideal way to enjoy your vacation. However, you can also opt for a private golf session.   

Kukuiula Kauai Hawaii

3. Kilohana Plantation

This is your one-stop for a luxurious experience! At the Kilohana Plantation, you’ll appreciate Kauai's culture and enjoy the best of the 105-acre experience. The plantation is centered on the mansion that belonged to Gaylord Wilcox since 1935.

The plantation prides in agriculture and with their 2.5-mile train ride, you’ll have the chance to view exotic crops, enjoy exclusive scenes, and learn more about Hawaii's agricultural history.

At Kilohana Plantation, you’ll have the chance to dine at one of the top restaurants in Kauai, known as Gaylord’s Restaurant. There’s also a rum company named Koloa where you can taste some of the local hooch. The plantation offers other activities including hiking through the rainforest and much more.

4. Wailua River State Park

If you've watched the film "Raiders of the Lost Ark," then you've seen Wailua River. It’s even more adventurous in person! Another remarkable fact about Wailua River is that it is the only navigable river in Hawaii, commonly accessible by boating or kayaking, and it’s known as one of the most sacred places on Kauai.

The park has breathtaking rainforests with several points of interests including Opaeka falls, Wailua Falls, and Wailua complex of Heiau where you can see ruins of historical sites.

To exhaust this massive trip, you may need a full day or two, depending on the activities you choose. It is advisable to have a concierge during this trip, and a couple of friends or family who would make it more adventurous and memorable!

Wailua River Kauai

5. Koloa Zip Lining

With sunscreen and bug spray, you are halfway ready for Kauai's premier zip line adventure. Well, of course, you'll need way more than those two to get through the day. Koloa Zipline is also Kauai’s longest zip line course, comprising of three zip lines.

 The course offers the following:

  • Tandem ziplining
  • Harness
  • Handlebar pulleys
  • Sunset ziplining
  • Ground school, and
  • Aerobics

While it’s not a free adventure, the premium experience is worth it! The thrilling adventure can take approximately 4 hours and captures Kauai’s south shore and the sugar plantation.

6. Na Pali Coast

Between Kalalau Beach and the famous Ke' e Beach, you can trek along the Kalalau Trail to experience Na Pali Coast. On this trail, you’ll explore a landscape of sea cliffs, and their narrow valleys, including the Hanakoa Valley, streams, and waterfalls.

Na Pali can also be accessed by sea. Some sea tours offer dinner cruises on a catamaran with champagne, where you can watch the sunset and enjoy magnificent views of the coastline with your partner.

Other activities you can enjoy include snorkeling. If you take a day trip when the sun's out, snorkeling will be refreshing as well as a way to get up close and personal with the gorgeous world below Hawaii's famous blue waves. You'll see corals, colorful tropical fish and, if you're lucky, sea animals like Hawaii's green sea turtle.

Na Pali Coast

7. Tour the Kipu Ranch

Kipu Ranch, a 3000-acre cattle ranch, is one of Hawaii’s top eco-tours. On a 4WD vehicle, you can go off-roading into Kipu Ranch, a unique landscape of mountains and valleys, and the Kipu Kai beach.

Once you cross the ranch to the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of Kauai's south shore. This area is popular due to its appearance in the movie, 'The Descendants' where George Clooney stood to take in the land.

Another Kauai movie experience would be swinging at the Indiana Jones rope swing. The best part is, experienced riders are allowed to ride into the ranch, making it even more interesting for those guests. However, the farm is full of surprising stops with stories to be told, hence a guide will come enrich the experience.

The best way to experience Kipu Ranch through its uneven terrain is by ATV riding with Kipu Ranch Adventures.


The Best ‘Home’ to Host You While Enjoying the Best Things to do in Kauai!

With several eye-catching destinations and adventures to take on, Kauai is undoubtedly one of the best places to vacation in Hawaii. Whether you’re visiting by yourself or as a group, you’ll find plenty of activities to take on during your vacation.

As you look forward to checking off activities from the "Best of Kauai" list, we believe it’s essential to know that, at the end of each day, you have a comfortable 'home' to which to return. We care about your stay and your experience; hence we aim at giving you a quality family-friendly or luxury property for your getaway and help plan unforgettable adventures.

Contact Exotic Estates today for more information and bookings.

Exotic Estates Villa

Steamboat Springs – The Perfect Family-Friendly Ski Resort & Summer Getaway urn:uuid:7ee11ff9-fd89-9aac-7c3e-23369938ef00 2019-04-02T20:04:05-07:00 Located in Colorado’s Yampa Valley about 160 miles northwest of Denver, Steamboat Springs is a contemporary ski resort town with an old-west atmosphere. Settled in 1800’s by farmers and cattle ranchers, the main street is peppered with western-style storefronts and historical buildings where small business owners have flourished with restaurants, boutiques, and brewpubs.

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

This perfect mountain town is known for the people who call it home, full of genuine Colorado cowboys with a warm and welcoming vibe. Families have been returning year-after-year for the perfect resort-town get away. Steamboat Springs is go-to destination for epic ski conditions, dog sledding and tubing, and fishing, hiking, and horseback riding year-round.

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs also hosts the Winter Carnival, where locals and tourists come together to celebrate the two mainstays of Yampa Valley, skiing and horses. An exciting and unique celebration where young skiers jump through the slopes while being towed by horses and even the high school band performs on skis. The family-favorite is the torchlit parade, passing the torches down from generation to generation.

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

With so many activities located near the base of the mountain and also close to many of our Steamboat Villas, this Colorado resort town is a phenomenal place for families with children of all ages. There are so many things that families can do without having to drive far or even drive at all. Many families love to hang out at the base of the ski hill and listen to music while the kids play nearby in the slowly flowing river.

Another amazing thing about this mountain resort town is the lack of large crowds, making lift lines in the winter a dream. Visiting in the summer is also ideal and hikers can feel like they always have wide-open space around them.

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

The main excitement is the champagne powder of Steamboat Ski area. With over 3,000 acres and 165 trails, this resort is well-known for its world-class children’s ski school, rated in SKI magazine as the best ski resort in the US for families.

Family Fun Activities

Steamboat is full of family-fun activities, one of our favorites is the night skiing. From Thursday to Monday night skiing is the perfect way for families to start off their ski vacation! The snow sports school is first-class and makes family planning easy. Younger kids up to kindergarten can learn to ski in the base learning area while kids up to 15 will meet at the base area for a full schedule of mastering the basics and ripping down the slopes. While the youngsters are enjoying expert instruction, you can ski at your own pace. Steamboat Resort is full of greens, blues, and blacks so that everyone can enjoy the champagne powder!

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

Snowmobile tours are a great way to enjoy the backcountry and you and the family can spend a day with a professional rider to get the ultimate adventure that will be the talk of the trip! Steamboat also offers mountain tours, a great way to get to know the resort with a trained guide that is usually also a gold medalist.  Visitors can choose between skiing, snowshoeing, and even moonlight tours for an unforgettable tour of the mountain.

The Outlaw Mountain Coaster is yet another exciting do-not-miss activity! This is the longest coaster in North America and features over 6,280 feet of fun. The track is located near Christie Peak Express and descends over 400 vertical feet and rises 40 feet above the ground. Even better, this roller coaster runs in the winter, so bundle up and get ready for the ride of your life!

Another great option for family-fun activities are the ranch and horseback tours. Get to know the beautiful Yampa Valley while on horseback with the entire family. Steamboat is deeply rooted in western heritage and there is no better way to experience the area than by cruising around on happy horses! After your ride, enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies.

One of our most favorite Steamboat Springs activities that you do not want to miss is the Steamboat Hot Springs. At the end of your day on the slopes, take a quick 20-minute drive to the natural hot springs mineral pools that are just what your sore muscles need. The Strawberry Park Hot Springs features multiple pools, all featuring different levels of temperatures to please all visitors. Less than seven miles from town, relax and take in the beautiful views with family and friends. All you need is a bathing suit and towel! There is also an Old Town location that features a more classic pool and offers a waterslide and other fun water toys for the entire family to enjoy.

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

We recently visited this family-favorite destination to tour collection of mountain villas and condos. Whether you are looking for ski-in/ski-out luxury condo or a classic log cabin chalet, we have steamboat vacation rentals ranging between $500 and $2,220 per night. Whether your hosting a small family of 5 or a large group of 32, we have everything you could need for your winter or summer getaway to Steamboat Springs!

Steamboat Springs Villas and Condos

Snowline Ridge (#307)

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

This Steamboat Springs vacation rental is the perfect retreat for the family who wants the ultimate in convenience and quality. Guests can ski to and from the door or deck onto the ski trails. The community amenities are top-notch and include a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, s'mores and hot chocolate by the outdoor fire pit, and a gas fireplace in the lounge. In addition to your own in-house ski storage, you can also take advantage of the community ski locker room next to the slopes.

WildFlower Meadows

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

This truly incredible mountain mansion boasts 10,628 sq., 155 acres, 45 fully manicured acres, six ponds, two lakes, two beaches, two docks, tennis court, multiple water features and breathtaking views around every corner! This vacation rental is unlike any other in the world and the immaculate grounds are the perfect setting for a special celebration or an unforgettable private family vacation. 

Summit Peak Penthouse (#803)

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

Think New York City Penthouse, with Steamboat Mountain views, Wild West charm, with everything only a short elevator ride away. This home is furnished with modern mountain flair that is begging you to come back from the ski trails for relaxation, and good times with friends and family. Uniquely served by a private elevator this residence also offers an exceptional level of security to guests seeking ultimate privacy for their stay. Offering a fine ski-in/ski-out lodging experience, this home can accommodate up to 12 guests and starts at just $1,700 night.

Gold Mine Lodge

Steamboat Springs Vacation Rentals, Steamboat Springs Ski Homes, Steamboat Springs Mountain Homes, Exotic Estates Steamboat Springs

 This Steamboat rental features incredible attention to detail and unparalleled craftmanship. The materials used to build the home came from an old Oregon gold mine and with over 7,500 square feet of living space this home is a short walk from the Thunderbird ski lift and shuttle service to and from the ski area is also available.

Good Vibrations with The Beach Boys urn:uuid:8d2bf7c3-31c3-0579-5599-de27f13fd6e0 2019-03-05T15:11:39-07:00 The Beach Boys have been making great music for over half a century and you don’t want to miss this exclusive musical treat presented by the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. The Beach boys have been an American icon to the world and have become synonymous with good vibes and a coastal lifestyle. From hits such as “Surfin’ USA,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “California Girls,” and “Good Vibrations,” The Beach Boys have sold over 1 million records worldwide. These Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer’s were also honored at the 2001 Grammy’s with a lifetime achievement award.

Maui Vacation Rental, The Beach Boys, Exotic Estates

Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and iconic surf songs, The Beach Boys have performed more concerts than any other rock band in history and have over five decades of crowd-pleasing tours. Creating a series of his singles, the Beach Boys are household favorite who have touched the hearts of fans worldwide.

The Beach Boys are led by Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who, along with Jeffrey Foskett, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, Christian Love, and Scott Totten, continue the legacy of sharing our favorite songs with the world. On April 12, 2019, be one of the lucky crowd members at the A&B Amphitheater and experience this incredible concert before retiring to your own private Maui vacation rental.

Maui Vacation Rental, The Beach Boys, Exotic Estates

We have selected the best Maui homes that are perfect for a relaxing getaway in Maui and are close to the concert!

Modern Beachfront Villa

Modern Beachfront Villa is a brand-new private villa situated on 18,700 square feet of gated property in Kihei, Maui. Only about 30 minutes’ drive to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, this Hawaiian villa is the ultimate luxury island destination. Guests will love the ocean views and ocean-front experience, and when you want to get closer to the Pacific Ocean a beach path will lead you directly to the sandy shores and turquoise waters. This home can accommodate up to 10 guests, so bring all of your friends and enjoy the Beach Boys concert in style!

Maui Vacation Rental, The Beach Boys, Exotic Estates

This Maui Vacation villa features 5,700 square feet of interior living space split between two spacious floors. A flowing open floor plan with 21 ft wide bi-folding glass doors combine the great room and spacious pool deck, ideal for entertaining family and friends. 14 ft high recessed ceilings showcase high-end finishes and colorful art and custom furnishings. 

Modern Beachfront Villa features five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and one-half bathroom. An interior clad with leathered quartzite marble countertops, tumbled Belgian limestone tile, custom scraped French oak wood floors and solid white oak cabinets are just a few of the top of the line materials used in this gated estate. 

Come have some Fun, Fun, Fun at Modern Beachfront Villa!

South Maui Parkside Villa

This home is perfect for families and groups and is only 30 minutes’ drive from the Beach Boys concert. The outdoor furnished Lanai wraps around the upper and lower level of the home, giving you breathtaking views of the gorgeous Hawaiian sunset and Pacific Ocean.

Maui Vacation Rental, The Beach Boys, Exotic Estates

The entertainment room comes with panoramic ocean views, pool table, large multiple seating areas, lifted ceilings, flat-screen TV, and entertainment center so you can jam out to “Surfin’ USA” long after your once-in-a-lifetime Beach Boys experience.

Wailea Inn

Enjoy Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) at our Wailea Inn. This unique property can be rented as one large unit or depending on your group size, you can choose between the best accommodation-style for your group.

Each unit in this large and well-appointed Maui vacation rental is only a few steps away from the several glorious Kihei beaches and a short distance from Wailea beaches. Wailea Inn is directly across from The Cove, which is the local stand-up paddle, surfing, and canoe launching spot. 

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The Inn can sleep up to 30 for an ultimate Hawaiian family holiday, retreat, reunion, anniversary, wedding, or a group of friends who want to enjoy a trip to paradise with the Beach Boys!

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Interested in joining us to watch America’s most beloved Rock Band? Don’t Worry Baby, we have got you covered! Tickets are available at different levels; $50, $60, $70, $90 and a limited number of $134 *Gold Circle Seats (plus applicable fees). For more information and to purchase, please visit For the ultimate Beach Boys experience and for information on renting on our of recommended villas, please contact an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist today at (888) 628-4896.

Visit St. Barth with Exotic Estates urn:uuid:467c5e1b-bc81-cdd2-89a0-07cacb0a7a19 2019-02-22T15:50:58-07:00 St. Barth Tours and Inspections

In late fall of 2018, we traveled to Saint Barth to explore this gorgeous island and tour and inspect our collection of luxury villas.

St. Bart’s attracts chic travelers from around the world and is abundant with lovely beaches, small cliffs and forests, glassy-smooth lagoons, and the plenty of surf-pounded bays. Although not much in St. Bart’s comes cheap, we can help you stick within your budget with one of our inspected luxury homes. We have a variety of private St. Barth villa options from family-friendly three and four bedrooms, to opulent adult-only villas.

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The island is comprised of only 8 square miles, boasting many hills and sheltered bays. There is generally little construction as development here is tightly controlled. This also means that you will not have any high-rise resorts spoiling you’re Caribbean Sea views. Owned by the French, new visitors may be reminded of the South of France, only surrounded by the bright blue colors of the Caribbean Sea.

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With a distinct French vibe, St. Bart’s is one of the most sophisticated and exorbitant of the Caribbean islands. Offering some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, picturesque views can be seen from almost every single point on the island. Adorned with white-sand beaches, trendy upscale boutiques, cuisine from around the world, and an incredibly beautiful harbor, St. Barth should absolutely be on your must-see destinations list for 2019.

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The sparkling turquoise waters and civilized friendly community make a visit to this island worth every penny. St. Barth is active and the scenery is beautiful on this forever-evolving island. For those who love to eat, new restaurants will tempt with local and foreign gourmets alike. Love to shop? Then you will love finding the latest in French clothes and accessories with prices that are actually up to 30% less than in the states. For those living a more active lifestyle, there’s an entire community of kite surfers and other water sports that make going to the beach more than just a relaxing experience. And for those looking to just enjoy paradise, then you have picked the perfect destination ripe with serene beaches (clothing optional), world-class dining, and a warm and friendly welcome from the community.

Brief History

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A little history lesson: Christopher Columbus came to the island in 1493 and named it for his brother, Bartolome. French colonists then arrived in 1648 drawn by the location along the West Indian Trade Route, but were later taken out by the Caribs, who then took over the island. More settlers arrived from Normandy and Brittany in 1694 and prospered with the help of French buccaneers. In 1784 the island was traded to the King of Sweden, who designed the streets, forts, and started the thriving free port.

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Continuing to prosper as a center for shipping until the 19th century when the island was wrecked by natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes. The French took back possession of St. Barth again in 1877. Today, the island is still a free port and is also a Collectivity, a French-administered overseas territory. Today, there are still descendants of over three centuries ago, but you are more likely to encounter young, French tourists looking for a local paradise.

Getting to St. Bart’s

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Because St. Barthelemy is the part of France, many of the regulations and services are the same as in France. Once you have past the hurdle of arriving on island, you will find that there is everything you might need, and you may be tempted to stay longer than planned.

There’s only one airport on the island, which also happens to have the second shortest runway in the world. Only small aircraft is able to land here, but there are flights from Saint Martin, Antigua, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe.  Flights can be found via Winair, St. Barth Commuter, and Air Caraibes.

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There are frequent fairies from Gustav via to St. Maarten, which is only about 15 miles or about an hour-long fairy. For those who get seasick, beware, the seas can be a bit rough and our ride got the best of a few seasick victims on our trip over.

Getting Around

Renting a car can be a good option for larger families or those looking to explore most of the island. But driving in St. Barth can be tricky as the roads are very narrow and windy roads and mostly filled with local drivers with little patience for rookies. You will not find the usual stop lights and stop signs that you see in other parts of the world and there are also no street signs so we suggest dropping a pin at your villa before heading out on Caribbean adventures. The maximum speed is 50 kph and driving is on the right side. Parking can be a challenge and there are only two gas stations on the island (near airport and in Lorient).  Be on the lookout and drive safely.

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Our partners on the ground can accommodate, picking you up upon arrival and taking you directly to your villa or perhaps the grocery store on the way. Also, hiring a car can be quite expensive, this can be a good option for some visitors because there are no taxis or buses for public transport. A fun alternative would be to rent a few quads, although we strongly suggest against renting any two wheeled vehicles.

Once you get used to the small streets, exploring the island’s unique infrastructure can be fun and exciting. The roads are all smooth and most smart phones can show GPS location and help with navigation.

Locals Tip: The island really shuts down on Sundays so be sure to stock up and fuel up on Saturday. Considering the size of the island, a full tank will most likely last around a week.

Banking and Currency

The official currency of St. Bart’s is a euro in their banks located in the main towns of Gustavia and St. Jean. ATMs can be found throughout the islands, but we encourage our guests to check with their banks to let them know before they travel so that they don’t encounter any issues. Credit cards are generally accepted at most establishments, however be sure to have cash on hand for various street vendors and gratuity.

Health & Safety

For any medical emergencies there is an accident and emergency department at the main hospital in Gustavia. Keep in mind that this hospital is not fully equipped to deal with complicated procedures and patients in need of them are generally transferred to St. Maarten or Puerto Rico. There are various pharmacies in the main areas, and no vaccinations are needed prior to travel.

The island is extremely safe, and security is highly unlikely to be an issue. The official language of St. Barth is French, but most Islanders involved with tourism are well-versed in English.

A bathing suit and cover up is generally accepted at most casual spots, but Gustavia expects more fashion forward visitors. Jackets are not required or worn by men, but most people step up the fashion for dinner outings. Expect to see fashionistas and most women wear whatever is stylish.

Locals Tip: Don’t be offended if your bartender or waiter seems rude, as this is common in the French culture.

Documentation Needed

St. Barth is easy to travel to, and the regulations for entry are the same as France and Europe. European Union travelers are committed to enter without the use of the visa, and US and Canadian travelers can enter using their passports.

Best Time to Visit

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The weather in St. Barth is generally good all year and the dry season lasts from December through May. Heavier rains will fall between June and November, with October and November being Hurricane season. We suggest planning your trip between December through April, when you will also find most of the Island events taking place.

Here are some of the biggest events of the year to help with your planning:

January: St. Barth Music Festival showcase

April: St. Barth Festival of Caribbean Cinema – celebrating Caribbean made documentaries

August: St. Barth Summer Session featuring 30 different musicians over 10 days.

October: The Taste of St. Barth international gourmet food festival.

Good to Know

St. Barth is on Atlantic standard time, only one hour ahead of Eastern standard time in the winter. This island does not observe daylight savings so between March and October the island is the same as Eastern standard time.

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The electrical system on the island delivers 220 bolts using standard French sockets. British and American appliances such as hairdryers and straighteners will need an adapter and perhaps the transformer. We suggest traveling with your own to make plugging easier.

What to Do


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The capital of St. Barth, Gustavia is known as one of the most gorgeous harbor town in the Caribbean. Sprinkled with red-roofed buildings that overlook the harbor from three sides. The same three sides are adorned with the boardwalk, surrounded by Cliffside restaurants and bars giving this pristine bay it’s chic ambience. Those who visit during Christmas or new year, we’ll discover that it can be one of the most fashionable and delightful places in the world. Visitors will often see luxury yacht anchored end-to-end, often hosting parties for celebrities.

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During the day the town is buzzing and full of character. Start your morning at the French café and spend your afternoon’s relaxing from one of the nearby beaches. In the evening, enjoy a glass of red as you watch the sunset below the harbor and take in the sights and sounds of the glamorous and charming nightlife of St. Barth.

St. Jean

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The next largest town on the island, Saint Jean sits on the north shore on Baie de St. Jean. Just over the hill from Gustavia, St. Jean overlooks this famous turquoise blue Bay and is also home up the small airport. There are several bars and hotels along the beach, including the iconic Eden rock Hotel which is currently under construction. There’s also a small town, featuring a few rows of shops and restaurants. This is also where you will find a few of our most favorite private villas!


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When we first arrived on St. Barth, we had just enough time to visit this adorable little fishing village that is located just north of Gustavia. This town is home to many local fishermen and has character not easily found anymore. For those looking to experience a more traditional culture, this is the perfect Town! We arrived just in time for sunset and took a quick dip in the warm water, perfecly calm and a great place to snorkel. 

East Side

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The east end is the least developed areas of St. Barth and comprises of Lorient, Grand Cul-de-Sac, and Petit Cul-de-Sac. For those looking for a tranquil getaway, this area is great and features many private and luxurious villas. There are also signs of retro Saint Bart’s, with a few tin-roofed buildings still visible and well-kept.

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Night Life

Most of the night life on St. Barthelemy is centered in Gustavia. Trendy clubs can change from season to season, so we suggest asking your coffee here for favorite restaurant waiter where the current scene might be.

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Beaches & Outdoor Adventures

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There is a beach on this island to suit every taste and it might even be possible to visit each one during your stay. Most of the beaches on St. Bart’s are easily accessible, and there’s only one white-sand beach that can only be approached by sea or by steep hiking paths. Whatever your fancy, you will find serene and dreamy white sand beaches, trendy Beach clubs with umbrella-side service, and shopping and restaurants depending on where you go.

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Each beach has its own distinct personality and all are open to the public. Even during the most popular time of year, the surplus of beaches means that you will rarely encounter a crowd and you will always find a good spot. Topless sunbathing is common and there are a few beaches that allow full nudity. Shade is scarce, so be sure to bring towels, water and snacks, and an umbrella or other sun protection.

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Locals Tip: Although each beach is beautiful, not all of the beaches are ideal for swimming. Be sure to check with the locals to ensure you are visiting the right beach for you and your group.

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For a complete list of beaches, visit our Charming Beaches of Saint Barth luxury advisor blog.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas

Axel Rocks

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Located in the heart of Gustavia yet overlooking the Caribbean, this St. Barth Luxury Villa is ideal for adults and groups of friends looking to take advantage of everything that St. Barth has to offer. Think Miami meets LA chic, this villa is designed for splashy Instagram photos.

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The relaxation and luxury outside of this luxury villa are as dramatic as the views. An infinity pool with steps and swim up bar draws you in. In addition to being heated, it has a majestic, clifftop view of the sea. The area is surrounded with a terrace that contains a gas barbecue grill, WiFi, and outdoor sound system. 

St. Bart’s Beachfront Villa

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One of our favorite villas located oceanfront in St. Jean, this private home is also the favorite to a few celebrities. Perfect for families or groups, this luxury St. Jean villa and adjacent bungalow are equipped with Wi-Fi and a sound system throughout all rooms. Delight in the tropical breezes of St. Bart’s or close the doors if you prefer protection from the elements. Ceiling fans and air conditioning are provided throughout the villa and bungalow for your comfort. 

Offering 5 bedrooms and an outstanding location, the interior of this Caribbean villa and bungalow features an exotic yet comfortable design alongside every modern convenience.

The beautiful contrast of the luxury villa’s high whitewashed wood ceilings and rich wedge wood floors encourage you to sit back and relax. The clean white walls are tastefully decorated with beautiful artwork. 

St. Bart’s Seaside Villa

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This charming seaside villa is full of character and is perfect for families. Pride of ownership is abundant and there is also private access to the gorgeous nearby bay of Petit Cul-de-Sac. St. Bart’s Seaside Villa features an sundeck and swimming pool and those who enjoy throwing social gatherings can let their guests hang out by the pool and relax on the sundeck. The residence even has a pleasant dining gazebo for people who want to feed their guests amazing meals, appetizers, desserts, and of course, cocktails and beverages in a classic Caribbean setting. There is also a private gym for guest use.

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Villa Cayes

This two-bedroom villa's classic seafaring Caribbean style is all charm! Featuring two well-appointed bedrooms, this St. Barth vacation home is perfect for small families or two couples traveling together.  It’s updated and bright, with natural colors that create a refined yet relax feel. Nautical themed decorative items and comfortable couches furnish this luxury villa and contribute to its classic elegance. The woods used in its construction and its tiled roof are also notable. If you are looking for a villa with a homey atmosphere, this home available for rent from Exotic Estates is the ideal place for your St. Barth Caribbean vacation. 

St. Barts Gouverneur Beach Villa

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St. Barts Gouverneur Beach Villa is a spacious villa that can host up to six guests. Experience the St. Barts vacation of your dreams as this ocean-view retreat is so close to the Caribbean Sea and Gouverneur Beach you can taste the salt on the air and practically touch the turquoise waters. The private villa has a view that goes for miles. From the comfort of the private terrace you can see all the way to the neighboring island of Nevis and St. Kitts


Visit St. Martin with Exotic Estates urn:uuid:87f79316-f386-c6eb-5568-9d8ea91ddcbc 2019-01-23T15:26:17-07:00 St. Martin Villa Tours and Inspections

In late fall of 2018, we traveled to Saint Martin to explore this gorgeous island and tour and inspect our collection of luxury villas.

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After the devastating impact of hurricane Irma, this island has been working to re-build and we were pleasantly surprised at how far they have come since September of 2017. It is important to understand the events that occurred when traveling to St. Martin and although they are about 70% of the way, you might still see signs of Irma's wrath.

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Two nations, One Island

St. Maarten and St. Martin are home to just about eighty thousand people hailing from over 100 different countries. A diverse land, the island is split between France and the Netherlands. One of the smallest in the world to be divided between two ruling nations, each has a capitol. The Dutch Capitol, Philipsburg, lies in the Southeast while the French Capitol, Marigot, lies in the West.

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Both sides of the island offer a laid-back Caribbean ambience with a touch of European culture. Water sports both peaceful and thrilling are plentiful. This includes diving, snorkeling, sailing, wind and kite surfing, and even hover-boarding. With soft trade winds constantly cooling the subtropical climate, we suggest taking at least one day to relax on one of 37 beaches!

Sint Maarten vs Saint Martin

If this is your first trip to St. Maarten, you’re probably wondering which side is best for your stay. Although it’s difficult to explain the difference in short, there are a few major distinctions. St. Maarten, the Dutch side, posts smaller price tags, more nightlife, large hotels, and casinos. St. Martin, the French side, features less night life, has no casinos, smaller more intimate hotels, and, in our opinion, the best and most abundant vacation rentals. Although there are nice restaurants on the Dutch side, we stayed on the French side It was closer to many of our favorite beaches, minimizing driving time and allowing for the relaxing vacation you deserve.

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Most of the Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals are located on the French side (North) and thus we will use ‘St. Martin’ most often when referring to this gorgeous Caribbean Island!

Getting to St. Martin

More than 20 carriers fly to the island and there are nonstop flights from Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia.  You can also connect in San Juan on Air Sunshine, JetBlue, or LIAT. Many smaller Caribbean-based airlines (Air Caraibes, Anguilla Air Services, Caribbean Airlines, Copa, Insel, LIAT, St. Barth Commuter, and Winair) also offer services from other islands in the Caribbean. We flew direct from JFK on an easy, early morning flight. You will need your passport to travel in the Caribbean, so be sure to plan ahead if you need to renew if it is expiring within six months.

There are so many reasons to visit St. Martin, delicious food, plenty of shops, large and small beaches, water sports abundant, and a vibrant nightlife. This popular Caribbean Island is a place where cuisine flourishes and where most resorts are small and the private home rentals are welcoming.

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At Exotic Estates, we are your boots-on-the-ground expert, as we personally get to know our hand-selected destinations to ensure they are the perfect fit for our discerning guests. Let us take you on a tour as we discover all that St. Martin has to offer!

Renting a Car

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The best way to explore St. Maarten is by car and it’s easy to get around the island by car as most roads are in good condition. Although the roads are paved, they can get crowded, especially on the Dutch side. You will be hard pressed to find roads that are identified by name or number, but most have signs indicating the direction of your destination. Driving is on the right side of the road, and there are gas stations located throughout the islands. If you’re planning on renting a car during your stay, let our Villa specialists assist you with the best option.

Banking and Currency

ATMs and banks are located at many locations throughout the island. Most shops and restaurants except the major credit cards, and the US dollar is widely excepted and is also the official currency on the French side. ATMs can be found in most of the major cities and towns.

Health & Security

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Should you require a pharmacy, you can easily find them located throughout the island. In fact, one of our team members easily got a prescription filled in the matter of minutes. French fire and police can be reached by dialing 17, and medical assistance can be reached by dialing 112.

Although St. Martin is very safe, petty theft does happen, as in most tourist hotspots. Rental cars are a prime target, so we highly suggest not leaving any valuables in your rental car. Should you experience any problems, be sure to report all crimes to the police and get a report of the incident.


All visitors must possess a valid passport, and no visa is required for stays of up to three months.

Best Time to Visit

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St. Martin enjoys sunshine all year round, but the best time to visit is during the high season which is December through April. Humidity can be intense from May to November, and tropical storms and hurricanes can strike between June and November, and many hotels and homes will close up for part of the Hurricane Season.

What to Do

Besides the obvious pastime of soaking in the warm Caribbean sun, relaxing in your private vacation villa, and enjoying delicious local food and boutiques, there is plenty to do on this gorgeous island. We have outlined a few of our favorites below, but there are endless opportunities for fun in St. Martin.


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Marigot is the capital of the French side and is an interesting place to spend a few hours exploring the harbor, local markets and shopping stalls, open air cafés, and luxury boutiques such as Longchamp and Dior (located in the Le West Indies shopping mall). Every Wednesday and Saturday, the daily open-air craft markets expand to include a farmer’s market of fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, and freshly caught seafood.

Above the hill you will see a small fort (For Louis), we suggest climbing to the top four incredible panoramic views of the surrounding islands and Caribbean Sea. Don’t worry, it’s only about 92 steps to the top for the most wonderful views!

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Locals Tip: when cruise ships are in port, and there can be as many as six or seven at once, the shopping areas can become crowded and traffic will occur. We suggest planning shopping outings for early to mid-morning, after enjoying an espresso at one of the many local French-pastry shops.

French Cul De Sac

Just north of Orient bay Beach, the French colonial mansion at St. Martin’s mayor is nestled among the hills, and Little red roof houses are peppered amongst the trees. This area is great for hiking, and the beach offers access to shuttle boats that take travelers on the five-minute trip to Ilet Pinel, which is an unpopulated island perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing, and swimming.

Grand Case

Known as the Caribbean’s restaurant row, Grande Case is in the heart of the French side, only about a 10-minute drive from Marigot. Plenty of options, you will find a fantastic restaurant for every palate and price range. There’s also a casual area called the lolos (open-air BBQ), where you will also find walk up Beach bars. This is the perfect spot for tapas at sunset, and a great destination for fun dinner plans with friends and family.


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Having such a vast array of beaches is pretty incredible for such a small island, and each beach has something to offer. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves, kite surf, sunbathe, or just dip your toes in the water, you are sure to find the perfect option, or a few. With such a short travel time between each, we suggest visiting at least a couple of beaches during your stay.

Almost all of the French side beaches have beach clubs and restaurants, and four $25 you get two chaises, an umbrella, and chairside service for drinks and food. Only some of the beaches have bathrooms and showers, so if this is your preference be sure to inquire with our Villa Specialist.

Cupecoy Beach and Harbor Area

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The Cupecoy Harbor was our "go-to" when staying in the Terras Basses area as it offers plenty of delicious dining spots, from quick to proper cuisine, a small grocery shop, and lovely views of the private harbor. 

Cupecoy beach is near the Dutch and French border and offers a picturesque scene of white sand and the turquoise shoreline. The surface can be rough, so this speech is best for private and quiet walks watching the sunset.

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Locals Tip: if you’re planning to come here for sunset, we suggest enjoying an early dinner in the Cupecoy Harbor area, which offers a few delicious restaurants that look over the calm and private marina. There’s also a small grocery store, perfect for stocking up on snacks and food for your villa.

Baie de Grand Case

Offering bustling restaurants and boutiques, the Caribbean Sea here is calm and there are a variety of lunch options from bistro’s to Beachside’s barbecue stands. This speech is best for swimming or long walks in the sun.

Baie des Peres (Friar’s Bay)

This cove is close to Marigot and features beach grills and bars, complete with chaises and umbrellas and a lovely view of Anguilla. This be just great for families, and often includes music, dancing, a large bonfire, and beach chairs. Open from sunrise to sunset, this speech is best for swimming, walking, and those craving a little nightlife action.

Baie Longue (Long Bay)

This Island does not include any facilities or vendors, making it a great option for a romantic walk. The beach does not have any amenities and is best for quiet walk at sunset or sunrise.

Locals Tip: although the island of St. Maarten is safe, we always suggest keeping your belongings with you and we do not advise leaving anything in your vehicle.

Baie Orientale (Orient Bay)

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Our personal favorite, many also consider this Island’s most beautiful beach. Featuring two miles beautiful sands, and an underwater marine reserve, a variety of water sports, and a beach club, this can also be one of the most crowded areas. Since the hurricane wiped out most of the of restaurants, only one was rebuilt when we visited, though another recently opened. Bikini Beach is offers beach goers and visitors covered dining tables, chaise and umbrellas for rent, clean bathrooms, and a fun bar!

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Ilet Pinel and Ile Tintamarre

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These two undeveloped offshore islands lie within the protective waters of St. Martin’s nature reserve, leaving their beaches deserted. Although the islands are difficult to reach when the wind is strong, good weather makes an easy daytrip by boat. Water taxis regularly shuttle visitors from the beach at French cul-de-sac which is just north of Orient bay.

Pinel usually has gentle waves, and also features snack-shacks and equipment rentals for water sports. Tintamarre is less visited unless busy but it’s perfect for snorkeling and discovering the white sand beaches. There’s also rumor that the mud from the beaches has healing powers, so don’t be surprised if you see visitors rubbing it all over their bodies. 


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The turquoise waters around St. Martin is filled with fish such as marlin, wahoo, tuna and even snapper. There are a few international tournaments throughout the year, and visitors can charter boats. Even if you are a novice, you can find a boat with the captain the construction of the trips to meet any skills. We heard that one of the best areas for wahoo and tuna is just off of Baie Longue, where the drop off reaches depths of 200 feet. Let’s our villa specialist help you schedule a day trip, then you will be able to cook your catch in your private villa!

Diving and Snorkeling

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Coral reefs and sea creatures thrive around St. Martin, as much of the water surrounding the island is protected by environmental agencies. If you are an experienced driver, you should plan to see some pretty amazing marine life including Blue Crabs, Green Moray Eels, Barracudas, and Nurse Sharks. When visibility is good, it’s typically clear for hundred feet. The best diving sites are located off Ilet Pinel and Ile Tintamarre, and there are plenty of dive shops to accommodate your trip!

Boating and Sailing

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St. Martin is host to many international regattas that are held annually. The most well-known and largest is called the Heineken Regatta, which draws over 200 boats from two dozen countries. For those who prefer motorboats, trips can be organized through agencies based at Marinas throughout the island, so be sure to plan ahead and Schedule the daytrip to explore the gorgeous turquoise waters while on your Caribbean vacation.

Exotic Estates St. Martin Villas

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Staying in a villa is the perfect option for your visit to St. Martin, this is especially true for small and multi-generational families, groups of friends traveling together, or groups of couples looking for a better option then a hotel.

We have a wide variety of options and our St. Martin villa collection, whether you’re looking for something secluded or centrally located, we have just what you need! From lavish to family-friendly, you will find the perfect St. Martin vacation home with Exotic Estates.

Red Roof Beach Villa

This beachfront St. Martin villa overlooks the Caribbean Sea and sits right on the white sands of the island's Baie Longue beach. Guests can lounge on the beach steps from their own front door and take in the spectacular views. 

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Outside, soaring arches surround the villa's covered gallery and curved stone walls surround the terrace. Towering palm trees offer shade and a beautiful tropical touch. Lush gardens grow around the entire villa. 

Iguana Cove Villa

With views that are worthy of the postcard, Iguana Cove Villa was lovingly designed and decorated with the guest in mind, so rest assured you will enjoy a stress-free getaway! Upon arriving, you will notice a modern and updated home with just the right amount of old Caribbean charm.

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Beacause this villa is located at the edge of a beautiful promontory, this villa may not be the best for families with little children. 

Tivoli Villa

Nestled into the hillside in the exclusive private enclave of Terres Basses and just 20 minutes from an international airport (SXM), offering easy access from many US cities, Tivoli Villa is a newly completed world-class, privately owned estate perfectly designed for entertaining and vacation living. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea amid lush gardens, this property presents the perfect blend of modern architecture with Philippe Starck contemporary interiors.

It is easy to imagine a luxury, over-the-top destination wedding here at this incredible estate.

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The home offers incredible outdoor living, with two pools, expansive lawns, and one of the best gyms on the island. The home’s comfortable living areas and bedrooms make this a lavish home away from home for any discerning traveler.

St. Maarten Villa Wit

Exotic Estates, Caribbean Villas, St. Martin Vacation Villas, St. Martin Vacation Homes

St. Maarten Villa Wit is a three-level, five-bedroom, dock-front luxury home in Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin, where vacationers will enjoy exquisite views of Simpson Bay lagoon, the Caribbean Sea and the French Lowlands.

Exotic Estates, Caribbean Villas, St. Martin Vacation Villas, St. Martin Vacation Homes

St. Maarten Villa Wit’s waterfront location puts you just steps from the lagoon, where your private boat dock awaits. Sunbathe and stargaze from the chaise lounges on the upper and lower sun decks, or take a dip in the crystal blue pool, whose upper-level location provides privacy along with stunning scenery.

St. Martin or St. Maarten, French or Dutch, this friendly Caribbean island is ready to welcome guests and you should for sure have St. Martin on your Caribbean travel list. Reach out to your Exotic Estates' Caribbean Villa Specialist for more info on these and other Caribbean villas today!

Snow Continues to Fall in Colorado urn:uuid:2cc3a224-47d4-4910-9c3b-a1e072099844 2019-01-23T14:48:42-07:00 Colorado Ski Season 2019 - Peak Powder Time!

With powder on the ground and more snow scheduled to arrive, the slopes will welcome skiers and snowboarders who gear up for a great season of snow in Colorado! Once you pick your destination, you need to pick a great house to share with your friends and family, and Exotic Estates villas can help in that department.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Snow lovers are rejoicing as Colorado resorts get off to an exceptional start to the season in 2019. In the northern Rockies, snow started to fall in early November and has been consistent since, accumulated snow fall that has now reached well above average.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Breckenridge is coming out on top, with more terrain and snow at Thanksgiving this year than by Christmas time last year. With a record-breaking season so far, the Express Chair opened its earliest since 2013.  Telluride has seen over 84 inches of snow and has opened over half of its lifts. Steamboat Springs is also seeing heavy snowfall and is expecting a great year.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Since 2019 is the year of epic snowfall, you will want to secure your vacation rental and book some slope time! Whether you are looking for a family-friendly lodge in Telluride or a private mountain retreat in Breckenridge, let our Villa Specialists help you find the perfect vacation rental for your group. To ensure our service is luxuriously local, we recently made a trip to tour and inspect our Colorado Mountain Villas and we are excited to share our collection with you!

Breckenridge Vacation Rentals Perfect for Large Groups

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These Breckenridge Mountain Villas are the ultimate alpine getaways, providing ample space and luxurious accommodations for up to 22 people. Invite the entire family for an adventurous trip to the slopes, or plan an epic Colorado vacation with friends. Large kitchens are perfect for crafting family meals, and the homes are more intimate and cost-effective option compared to a hotel. Most of our villas include private Jacuzzis and outdoor firepits, making après-ski nights by the fire a family favorite!

Breck Sunshine Estate

This private, mountain-view villa is ideal for a ski vacation or a relaxing mountain retreat. Located in Breckenridge’s gorgeous historic district, you can keep to yourself and enjoy your villa’s expansive views of Ten-mile Range or explore the town of Breckenridge.

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This alpine vacation home is designed to accommodate large groups of people, so you and 21 other guests can experience the trip of a lifetime at this Colorado villa.

Breckenridge Views Lodge

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

The Colorado mountain villa has both rustic appeal of a classic mountain lodge and the luxury accommodations of an upscale vacation home. This is the perfect destination for a relaxing Colorado retreat or an adventurous ski vacation and guests will love the views of Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Summit View Manor

This 7,000 sq. ft. villa is situated on a breathtaking piece of property on Peak 8 in Breckenridge, CO. Offering six bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and one-half bathroom, this home can accommodate up to 22 guests.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Summit View Manor has the ideal location to enjoy the beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the amenities of the One Ski Hill Place resort. Welcome to your very own alpine paradise!

Steamboat Vacation Rentals for Couples

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These ski-in/ski-out Steamboat Springs Mountain Villas are perfect for couples or small groups of friends traveling together for a fun trip to the slopes of Steamboat Springs.  Most of our slop side villas and condos include fully-equipped kitchens, large dining tables, flat-screen TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi. 

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Exotic Estates gets footage for upcoming commercial showcasing our Colorado Mountain Homes

Gather the group and get ready to hit the slopes. These properties provide first-class amenities and exclusive access to that Champaign Powder that is abundant this ski season!

Snowline Ridge

With private access to the Steamboat ski trails, our Snowline Ridge takes convenience to the next level. This spacious four-bedroom condo offers great sunset views towards the Sleeping Giant and located directly on the ski hill.

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Few ski-in, ski-out locations offer "ski to the back-door access," which is why this unique four-bedroom residence is named Snowline Ridge. You can ski to and from your own door or deck onto the ski trails, making this Steamboat Springs vacation home a fabulous retreat for groups of couples or even families.

Snowy Perch Lodge   

This Steamboat Springs vacation home is suited for large groups of couples or families, as it provides a perfect hideaway where you can relax with your loved ones, colleagues and friends without sacrificing on comfort and luxury. The property is newly remodeled to reflect a modern top-to-bottom mountain appeal and contemporary mountain style is ideal for a weekend getaway or long-term ski-trip.

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Offering 6,000 sq. ft. Snowy Perch Lodge may be just what you need to enjoy a relaxing trip and boasts class and comfort while ensuring that the ski hill is easily accessible. The Snowy Perch Lodge offers an unparalleled ski-in and ski-out access for the occupants. You can ski directly from your back door to the ski school and the Gondola and return easily after the day is done. 

Sawtooth Mountain #514

This Steamboat rental features four bedrooms, living and dining area connected to the kitchen with plenty of room for the entire group to gather. Sawtooth Mountain Residence offers all of the One Steamboat Place exacting standards and its layout takes convenience to the highest level.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Located in the heart of the Steamboat Ski Mountain base area, Sawtooth Mountain offers ultimate ski-in/ski-out access.

Telluride Villas for Families

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Telluride is special and secluded, featuring classic mountain-style lodges and luxurious slope side condos. Telluride is the perfect sized town, the perfect-sized ski area, it's crowd-free, and the beauty is unsurpassed. The ski area itself offers one of the best mixes of ski runs available at any Colorado ski resort. From beginner to advanced, there are plenty of runs for all levels of skier. Ski magazine rated it North America’s best for overall ski resort satisfaction in a 2016-2017 readers’ poll. Here are just a few of our favorite Telluride Mountain Villas. 

Telluride Skiside Lodge at Sundance

Ski side Lodge at Sundance is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom Telluride townhome with a total of 2,780 square feet of living space. The multi-level home has quiet space for solo relaxation and open rooms perfect for spending time with your whole group.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

With space for nine guests, this townhome is ideal for family vacations, friends’ trips, and couples’ retreats. Step out on the natural wood deck to take in the fresh mountain air and the view of the forested landscape. Off of the home’s upper levels, you will find a private patio complete with a large hot tub.

Telluride Mountain Majesty

This mountain home offers four floors and 7,600 square feet of space and the exterior of the home features natural wood and stone, vaulted ceilings, natural wood accents, and floor-to-ceiling picture windows inside.

Colorado Mountain Homes, Breckenridge vacation rentals, Telluride vacation rentals, steamboat springs vacation rentals

Telluride Mountain Majesty has six bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and one-half bathroom. The rustic, classically beautiful home can host up to 17 guests.

Contact your Exotic Estates' Colorado Vacation Rental Specialist today and get out and enjoy the snow before it's gone!



Charming Beaches of Saint Barth urn:uuid:0c77721d-2f63-c705-02aa-25aa3cf850ae 2019-03-16T13:37:39-07:00 Enjoy the Charming Beaches of Saint Barth

The beautiful island of St. Barth boasts 14 gorgeous beaches, all adorned with white sand and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Even in peak season the beaches remain uncrowded, which is part of what makes this incredible island one of our favorite tropical getaways!

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The beaches of St. Barth are also public and free and although nudism is scarce, topless is also not unusual. Whether you desire seclusion or a classic vibe with local shops and eateries, you will find all of that and more on this dreamy little island!

Corossol Beach

Starting with one of our favorites, Corossol, which is not far from Gustavia town and is located on the same southwestern side of the island. A map belies the topography which is very hilly indeed, so it’s by no means just a straight shot from town. The hilliness helps to keep this little spot cove-like and private.

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What’s great about Corossol is its historic nature as a local fishing village. While there are some modern dwellings being precariously and impressively etched out of the upper slopes, the waterfront is dominated by simple homes; these are the cottages belonging to the areas long-time residents, many of whom made their lives on the sea. At night you can walk by and still see fishing net hanging on the walls of some of the cottages. A saint sits atop of a large boulder here, a memorial for fishermen.

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If you want to get away from the trendy party set, this little beach is a great spot for an afternoon swim. Also, because of its orientation, you’ll even be able to catch a sunset here. We did, and it was marvelous!

Public Beach

If you traveled to Saint Barth by Ferry or Yacht, then you have already had the pleasure of visiting Public Beach. Ideal to start any boating or water sports activities, this beach is adorned with boats both small and large, rocking on the Caribbean as they await their voyage.

Shell Beach

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This beach is only a short walk from Gustavia and is the scene of many weekend festivities. The sand and beach entry are bejeweled with tiny shells, proving the beaches namesake. We spent a quiet afternoon catching some rays and checking out the marine life, which is sparse but splendid nonetheless! For the adventurous at heart, there is an opportunity to cliff-dive, but be sure to inquire with the locals as to ensure safety before jumping.

Gouverneur Beach

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Perhaps one of the most exclusive beaches, it’s not uncommon to see A-list celebrities or folks relaxing on their yachts near shore at this pristine shoreline. Remote and private, the further distance will be worth it for those looking to experience the warm breezes without the bother of a crowd. This beach also features great views of the surround islands, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Kitts.

Saline Beach

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For those looking for a truly authentic Caribbean experience, Saline Beach might be the spot for you. A short hike over a dune, the short hike is worth it! Although nudism is technically prohibited in St. Barth, it is a pastime that is still commonly practiced at Saline (usually when you head left after hiking over the dune). There are no restuarants or services offered, so be sure to bring your own beach items, water, and food. The beach is unprotected, so be aware of conditions before jumping in to swim.

Toiny Beach

Opposite Gustavia is Toiny Beach, which is also a beach less traveled. Although popular among surfers, this Beach is poor for swimming as the currents can be strong.

Saint Barth's Beaches, St. Bart's Beaches, Exotic Estates, Saint Barth's Villas, St. Bart's Villas, Caribbean VillasView of Toiny Beach from our Dunes Villa

One of our most exclusive properties, Dunes, is located just a 10-minutes’ walk from this beach and is a great St. Barth Villa for large events such as weddings and family reunions.

Petit Cul de Sac Beach

Another bay that is protected by the fringing reef, Petit Cul de Sac is a top choice for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing!

Grand Cul de Sac Beach

Adorned with restaurants and hotels, this beach is a St. Barth classic and is perfect for those who desire to experience the many culinary offerings along with a relaxing day on the beautiful white-sands of Saint Barth. A windsurfer’s delight, this beach frames a shallow and sheltered bay and the water is serene and warm. This beach is also great for kiteboarders and sail boaters, making for great beachgoer entertainment!

Marigot Beach

Yet another calm and protected part of the coast, Marigot Beach is most ideal for those looking to jump in the water for a swim or snorkel.

Lorient Beach

Surfer’s look no further, Lorient Beach is the spot to catch those warm Caribbean rollers. This beach is also great for families!

St. Jean Beach

Arguably the most popular part of the St. Barth coastline, Saint Jean Beach doesn’t disappoint. A great place to enjoy the day with beachside service, beachgoers can also experience the few flights as they take off and land. This beach is separated by the well-known Eden Rock and is within walking distance to many delightful shops and restaurants.

St. Jean Beach - by John Di Rienzo

Anse de Cayes Beach

Another surfer’s favorite, Anses de Cayes Beach is favored by an onshore breeze and features the usual; perfect white-sand and pristine water!

Flamands Beach

A long and deep secluded beach, Flamands can feature a nice surfing wave in the winter and is also great for swimming! Great for surfing, this beach is also great for bodysurfing or boogie-boarding thanks to slow rolling and mellow waves. One of the largest beaches on the island boasting shady palm trees, Flamand Beach is the home of La Langouste restaurant, a must-stop for brunch or dinner.

Colombier Beach

As we complete our trip around St. Barth, we come to Colombier Beach which can also be seen on your boat ride in. This part of the coast is also dubbed “Rockefeller’s Beach,” earning its namesake from Mr. David Rockefeller himself who previously owned the property that surrounds. This beach is not accessible by car and requires a 30-minute hike down a picturesque path and can also be accessed by boat from Gustavia. Much different than the bustling Gustavia, Colombier Beach offers ample privacy. A local’s favorite, this beach is perfect for enjoying a light lunch and libation!

Local’s Tip: No matter which beach you choose to visit, we highly recommend renting a Mini Cooper to navigate the narrow and steep roads. There are also quads available to rent and we highly advise against renting a two-wheel scooter/motorcycle as they are very dangerous, especially after tropical showers!

Luxuriously Local with Exotic Estates

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When you rent a Saint Barth villa with Exotic Estates, you will have the pleasure of enjoying our dedicated partners on-site concierge service, who will happily take care of your every-beach need. Most of our Saint Barth villas include all the items you require such as beach-towels and chairs. Snorkeling and surf gear can easily be rented and there are also a few beaches that feature restaurants offering toes-in-the-sand service.

Whether you spend a day beach hopping or desire to visit only one or two, our Villa Specialists can help you find the perfect white-sand beach for your visit to Saint Barth!

Lorient, St. Barth urn:uuid:61d3b6cc-4b5e-e879-6599-ebb83a342f39 2019-01-14T11:17:04-07:00 Lorient, St. Barth

Lorient is one of the oldest villages in Saint Barth and is one of the most charming areas we toured while on island. Like most of St. Barth, Lorient features a gorgeous white-sand beach that surrounds the sparkling Caribbean blue waters and is lightly peppered with stunning and charming Caribbean-style vacation homes.

A recently renovated church sits atop the hill of Lorient and is used for music festival concerts in January. The beach is perfect for families looking for a quieter and less busy beach, who will appreciate the calm and clear waters. Surfers will also enjoy this popular spot to catch the rolling waves in true Caribbean-style!

In the small local villas, you’ll find a few shops and restaurants and two grocery shops and a bakery, all within walking distance of the beach. There is also a small and colorful surf hut on the beach where guests can get lessons and rent boards. If you are more inclined to relax, grab a few beach chairs and spend the day letting go (clothing optional).

Locals Tip: Stop by a nearby bakery or grocers and grab a Baguette and a Carib and enjoy lunch by the beach under the palm trees!
Lorient Area Vacation Homes

Milou Terrace Villa

This Caribbean Villa, located in the posh Pointe Milou neighborhood, is the trifecta of Caribbean dreams - gorgeous views, an amazing infinity pool, and gorgeous indoor/outdoor living spaces. The two-bedroom, two-bath home is designed to soothe the senses and provide ultimate relaxation to our guests.  Grill fresh fish on the charcoal grill, lounge by the pool overlooking islands of green floating in a sea of azure blue or enjoy a drink from the wet bar by the pool!

Lorient Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Inside the villa, guests will step into a serene world of cool tiled floors, wood accents, and sophisticated furnishings. The living area flows into the kitchen and opens to the terrace outside, great for family gatherings! This St. Bart’s villa has a high-definition TV in the living area complete with DVD and features French doors in the master bedroom for access to a small terrace overlooking the pool and garden

Locals Tip: For the most fresh and delicious ingredients to use in your villa’s gourmet kitchen, stop at the Fruit Market on the weekends. We also hear this is the spot to find some of the tastiest and fresh juice on the island!

Villa Moma – The Couples’ Getaway

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Villa Moma is more than a home, it’s like a living piece of modern art, with sophisticated spaces framing world-class views. A one-bedroom villa that is perfect for a romantic couples’ getaway, this Caribbean villa was recently built and has the latest in amenities and design qualities, including designer fabrics and luxurious finishes.

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For those looking for privacy to celebrate a honeymoon, anniversary or milestone event, this eclectic home certainly fits the bill. This can also be a great vacation spot to pop the question, sophisticated surroundings and unparalleled views.

Caribbean Breeze

Lorient Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Experience the true beauty of St. Barth’s from Caribbean Breeze Villa, an elegant home that is surrounded by lush palm trees and tropical landscaping.

Boasting incredible views of the Caribbean Sea, the outdoor terrace overlooks the hillside and offers a spectacular view of the turquoise ocean water. Inside, the luxury vacation villa has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and very spacious and warmly decorated shared living space.

Lorient Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Throughout the home, guests will find Java teak and a warm color scheme that create an upscale yet inviting ambience that is great for a small family or two couples traveling together.

St. Jean, St. Barth's urn:uuid:cd8ee91b-4da2-f075-c941-8128fffda5c3 2019-01-14T11:16:33-07:00 Saint Jean, St. Barth

Just over the saddle and across the island from the capital of Gustavia is St. Jean and St. Jean Bay. This is arguably one of the most popular (and for good reason) areas of St. Barth and is centered around one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Whether it’s the glittering aquamarine waters or the smell of fresh French Pastries from La Boulangerie, but you might start to think you are basking on the French Riveria.

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St. Jean Beach boasts a long stretch of warm, white sand and is bordered by shops, restaurants, and boutiques, catering to all ages. Since this is one of the most popular beaches on the island, you will want to arrive early enough to grab a good spot. For those looking for a more peaceful spot, look on the south side of Eden Rock, which separates the beach into two main sides.

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For those looking for a little more than sunbathing and people watching, St. Jean Beach is great for water sports such as snorkeling, surfing (as the reef-protected waters are generally calm), and there is also a sports complex where visitors can partake in soccer, archery, or even tennis. It’s also the perfect spot for sunbathers or families looking to spend a day making sand castles and splashing around in the warm water.

Local’s Tip: We recommend visiting Carib Waterplay, which is perfect for finding all of your water sports and other activity needs.

St. Jean Beach is on the northern side of the airport, which means planes can come quite low over the western end. However, there are no large aircraft flying in, so no worries on noise from big jet traffic.

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Locals Tip: Unless you bring your own chairs, you will likely need to pay for a day use of the chairs provided which is perfect for a relaxing day with drink service.

We loved Saint Jean because it felt a like a complete neighborhood unto itself, meaning you didn’t need to go into Gustavia if you didn’t want to, as the local shops and the big mall across the street from the airport have everything you can possibly need, including a supermarket to stock up your villa (although Gustavia is only about 10 minutes’ drive).

Saint Jean Vacation Villas

St. Barts Beachfront Villa

If you like the idea of staying right on the beach, then the aptly named St. Barts Beachfront Villa may be for you.

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The villa is an updated and modern four-bedroom beachfront property. The home comes with a great pool and even a little “nanny cottage” in back yard. The home is a favorite of Hollywood A-listers vacationing with family.

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

“This was one of the most beautiful properties on St. Bart’s. Featuring four well-appointed bedrooms, all with en-suite baths, this large St. Jean vacation home is truly luxurious and overlooks St. Jean beach. It’s not surprise that this home is a celebrity favorite and it’s perfect for multi-generational families or families traveling together. Anyone looking for a gathering place that also boasts privacy. There is a separate living room area from the bedrooms, perfect for entertaining. The pool was really well done and leads the guest out to the pristine white-sand beach. I would highly recommend this St. Jean villa to our guests!” – Shanon Searls, Marketing Manager and Villa Inspector.


Villa Infinity

We also loved Villa Infinity, located on the east side of St. Jean beach.

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Villa Infinity is situated close to both quaint Lorient and St. Jean. If you're looking for a two or three-bedroom Caribbean villa that's well-positioned to offer access to sights and entertainment options, this Caribbean villa should be on your shortlist.

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Infinity Villa’s interior design is soothing with its subtle earth tones. It features sturdy hardwood and stone flooring. While the indoors are relaxed and elegant, guests can take full advantage of the infinity pool on the terrace, overlooking the idyllic scene below.

Villa Saint Jean

Across the beach we toured Villa Saint Jean, which offers stunning panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

Villa Saint Jean has an updated appearance thanks to its modern flare and it's also a villa-renter favorite because of the plethora of benefits if offers. The home is all about indoor-outdoor living and the main living area opens to a huge terrace with its rock-formulated backsplash and shrubbery. Terrace is also home to a breathtaking infinity pool that possesses the perfect illusion of blending into the horizon below.

Saint Jean Villas, St. Barths Villas, Exotic Estates Luxury Villas Vendor Photo

"The master bedroom is so romantic! The decor features clean white's and ocean blues. I can just imagine waking up here to a cup of coffee while the sun rises, or enjoying a glass of bubbly to celebrate any occasion while the sunsets." - Shanon Searls, Marketing Manager and Villa Inspector. 

This stunning villa is perfect for a romantic couples’ getaway and is definitely a standout villa!

Now that your inspired, call or email our Villa Specialists to find out which Saint Jean Villa is best for your group.


Gustavia - The Heart of St. Barth urn:uuid:8b5494c1-f5e0-b83b-87d2-9c40c2c3ea54 2018-12-10T17:13:29-07:00 Gustavia is the heart and soul, and also the capital, of St. Barth and we love it! Whether you are traveling by speed boat, ferry, or yacht to St. Barth, you will reach the harbor in Gustavia and will no doubt head straight into town to get refreshed after your travels.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

When looking for a vacation rental on St. Barth, if you are interested in staying where the action is (or where celebrities such as the Kardashians have centered their St. Barth vacations), then you will want to stay in Gustavia.

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Gustavia is bursting with small boutiques (duty free) and restaurants all adorning the quiet cobblestone streets of the town. If this is your first time or even your 10th, you will surely get lost in the delight of this up-scale and historic Caribbean Island!

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Discovered by Columbus in 1493, St. Barth was named for his brother, Bartolomeo, and the island was first settled in 1648 by French Colonists from the nearby island of St. Kitts.  Fast forward to 1946, St. Barth was giving the legal status of a Department of France.  All citizens were given French passports and were expected to pay French taxes. In 1957, the American millionaire David Rockefeller bought a property and the notoriety of the island quickly spread by word-of-mouth as it transitioned into an upscale and French-speaking tourist destination. 

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - John Photo

As you head into town, you will notice classic designer shops such as Hermes, Chopard, and Louis Vuitton. Popular among the rich and famous, as well as U.S. Francophiles who want a taste of the South of France during winter, St. Barth is truly a chic destination offering a quiet retreat for families and couples alike.

This gorgeous little island is home to an array of stunning beaches (some quieter ones clothing optional), quaint local restaurants (read further to learn our favorites) and an abundance of designer boutiques. For the more adventurous, jet ski rentals can provide a full island tour while floating along the crystal blue waters of the warm Caribbean Sea.

A Day in Gustavia

During our recent villa tours and inspections trip to St. Barth, we had the pleasure of spending time in the area of Gustavia. As no day in the Caribbean should start without café and macarons, we started our morning at the local La Petite Colombe in downtown Gustavia. If you are staying in the area, it would be an easy walk, otherwise it’s generally about a 10-15 minutes' drive.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

Tip – If you are looking for an American Style coffee, ask for an Americano and let them know if you would like cream beforehand as they do not leave it out on counters like you would usually see at home at your local Starbucks. In fact, they heat the milk and add it to your coffee for you maintaining the heat!  Sugar is generally left on the counter and they will also warm-up your French treats!

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

Once our appetites were satisfied, we set off for our St. Barth villa tours!

Favorite Gustavia Villas

Although all of our St. Barth villas are AMAZING, we picked our two favorite in the Gustavia area and would love to take you on a quick tour...

Tropicalia Villa

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Sibarth Photo

This gorgeous little villa overlooks shell beach (one of our favorite beaches) and features a large and modern space with a huge kitchen and living area, great for family gatherings. There is also a multilevel area with a great view and a nice outdoor bar which is perfect for guest entertaining. If you are traveling with a group of older folks or kids, beware of the stairs.

Axel Rocks

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Vendor Photo

This home as been rented by LA and NYC social scene A-listers, and is very much a great option for “partying” adults. Boasting incredible unobstructed views of the Caribbean, this home also features an infinity pool with an “underground” window to peak at the swimmers, guaranteed fun! We would not suggest brining kids to this home as it’s much more suited to adults.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Vendor Photo

Time for Refreshments

We get it, you are on vacation and that’s why we set out to find the best spot to refresh yourself with fresh food and libations. For lunch we stopped at The Fish Corner for the catch-of-the-day and oh my goodness, it was probably the best fish I have ever had! The shop is quite small so be sure to get here early as they do run out of the fresh catch. This is perfect for dining couples but most likely too small for large family dining. If you're with a large group, might we suggest sneaking away to experience this truly special spot.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - shanon Photo

Tip – If you find yourself struggling to understand the French menu, keep looking through as there is usually an English version at the end. If not, just ask the waiter.

Le Select

Finally, it’s late afternoon and we are ready for a beer! After touring a few local shops serving drinks, we would always end up at our favorite, Le Select.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

This is a great bar with most of the seating outdoors and boasts great service. Besides the good selection of drinks, the atmosphere alone is worth the stop as you can feel the island vibe and you will usually catch the locals hanging out here as well. The perfect juxtaposition of jimmy buffet meets upscale St. Barth.

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

Fine Dining in Gustavia

Gustavia features many fine-dining options to please any palate, from Sushi to Italian to local seafood, you will have a hard time choosing where to enjoy island cuisine! We had the opportunity to dine at Bonito, a beautiful French restaurant featuring fresh seafood, contemporary options and it is also vegetarian friendly.

The ambiance is just as incredible as the food and offers panoramic views of the harbor and the sparking lights of Gustavia below. Trust us, this is a fine-dining experience you DON'T want to miss. 


Local Customs

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - Shanon Photo

St. Barth is an incredibly safe and very little to no crime occurs on the island. In fact, we often left our car doors unlocked, as many locals tend to do (yet we always suggest leaving any valuables locked and out of sight). Please always being polite to locals and tourists, a friendly “Bonjour” can go a long way. We were also told that honking your horn is considered very rude and you will notice a lack of this sound while visiting, so enjoy.


Exotic Estates – St. Barth Expertise

Exotic Estates St. Barth Villas - ShanonPhoto

At Exotic Estates, we are truly Luxuriously Local, and we have gone above and beyond to prepare you for a carefree trip to the island. St. Barth and Gustavia are special and you can feel the local love almost immediately upon arriving. To ensure that you will enjoy everything this beautiful island has to offer, we have toured St. Barth from North to South and East to West and we cannot wait to share these stunning Caribbean vacation villas with you! Stay tuned for our trip to the other side of the island where we visit Flamands, St. Jean, and Grand Cul de Sac! 

Should you have any questions regarding St. Barth or where to stay in Gustavia, you can reach us direct at 888-628-4896.

Hawaii Island Festival of Birds - Ha'Akula Manu urn:uuid:75f187f2-32c5-e68e-315c-d494d49be7b0 2019-06-18T13:10:40-07:00 Big Island Nature Events - October 2019 - Festival of Birds

Hawaii is a paradise on many levels, and it’s no exception when it comes to birding. The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, held on October 24 - 28, 2019, known as Ha’akula Manu, offers the perfect opportunity to experience the island’s avian diversity while helping to support the conservation efforts of the Hawaii Wildlife Center and the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail. If you’re looking for great Hawaiian island events, consider this unique ecological tour!


Stock Photo Big Island - Exotic Estates, Big Island Events

Hawaii Wildlife Center

The HWC is a non-profit regional organization dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating Hawaii's unique wildlife population. The center conducts research and provides critical training for disaster response and wildlife recovery. Its public outreach and education programs are central to promoting its mission to create a sustainable environment in which native species thrive.

Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail

This 90-mile driving trail, spanning across a variety of different environments, is the ultimate experience in Big Island nature. A microcosm of many climates, the trail traverses both desert and rainforest and ascends nearly 7,000 feet before it concludes. You will see an amazing assortment of wild birds, from shorebirds to honeycreepers, and be treated to the incredible views one can only find in Hawaii.

Everyone is Welcome

Everyone with a passion for birds is invited to take part in Ha’akula Manu! One of the best Hawaii island events, the festival is great for birding tour groups and locals who want to learn more about the avian life that shares the islands with them, or for tourists from afar that want a unique ecological experience during their Big Island vacation.

Reservations vs. Self-Touring

Guided group tours are available by reservation and recommended to maximize your birding experience. If a tour group does not appeal to you, however, you are welcome to complete the drive with your own vehicle. Find your route on the trail website at

*You will receive a confirmation email after scheduling any tours. Please note that there are no refunds within forty-five days due to limited space, but tickets are transferable.

Weather policies

While weather conditions in Kona are pretty close to ideal most of the time, you will want to wear light layers or bring rain gear, as some tours extend into higher elevations with a possibility of precipitation any time. The offshore pelagic seabird tours are dependent on ocean conditions. Be aware that there is a possibility that ocean tours may have to be refunded or exchanged for an alternate land tour if the weather does not cooperate.


Volunteers are an essential part of the bird festival! If interested in joining in, contact the bird festival coordinators directly at

Essential tips for a successful tour on your Big Island vacation

Be still and quiet and keep a distance from wildlife - Keep cell phones off and chatter to a minimum. When left undisturbed, birds become much more visible.

Be prepared - Make sure that you bring water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing to keep yourself safe in a changing outdoor environment. Big Island Hawaii nature is beautiful but unpredictable.

Tread lightly on the trail - Park only where directed, and never take your vehicle “off-road” to obtain a better view. Avoid trespassing on private property and remember to pack out any garbage or belongings before leaving the area. Always respect the vulnerable nature of the Hawaiian ecosystem by following local laws and regulations and “leave no trace” hiking practices.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures of this incredible Big Island Experience!

Learn more by following this link: 

Ski Season is Here urn:uuid:78a9478a-74f2-72fe-bd68-36e0ffdc1a85 2018-11-28T16:11:55-07:00 This snow is falling in Colorado and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to experience the fresh high-altitude powder! As snow continues to fall this week, it added to the 100-inch total at Breckenridge and Keystone resorts.

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

Breckenridge and Keystone both opened early for the first time in 10 years, giving way to what's shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet! Although last season was gorgeous, it left Colorado skiers hungry for more… but this winter season has already started with a bang. Breckenridge ski resort opened their Imperial Chair Lift on Thursday, which is the earliest the highest chairlift on the continent has ever been ready to welcome skiers and snowboarders.

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

Breckenridge Ski Resort anticipates opening a variety of terrain very quickly, and the gondola is set to start running at 8 AM taking skiers and snowboarders from town to Peak 8. The Colorado SuperChair and Rip’s Ride both open at 9 AM, so be sure to check back throughout the week as terrain updates are posted.

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

If you haven’t yet booked your winter escape with Exotic Estates, consider one of our Breckenridge Ski-In/Ski-Out options to catch some of the best runs that Colorado has to offer!

Breck Balmoral Lodge

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

This private Breckenridge Ski Villa is located right on the Snowflakes ski run and features insane views of Peak 9 and Baldy Mountain. Up to 18 guests will have an incredible time, as this home features a stone patio and fire pit, a large private hot tub, and over 5000 ft.². Featuring six bedrooms that are spread out over three floors, this Breckenridge vacation home boasts plenty of modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay for all guests.

Summit View Manor

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

Our Summit View Manor is tucked away in upscale Timber Trail neighborhood on Peak 8, offering gorgeous mountain views and quick ski access. Featuring 7000 ft.², six bedrooms, six bathrooms and gorgeous living spaces, this villa is designed for large groups who are looking for the ultimate winter getaway!

One Ski Hill Place

Breckenridge Vacation Homes, Exotic Estates

This two-bedroom and two-bathroom private condo is located at the base of Peak 8 and boasts a convenient ski-in/ski-out location. This condo also provides access to plenty of resort amenities and features a private terrace and gorgeous mountain slope view. This is the perfect option for small groups looking to be close to the action!

Where to Stay on St. Barth urn:uuid:7cc7132f-3c16-94d9-ee4e-263192001aef 2018-12-05T12:18:07-07:00 Where to Stay on St. Barth

St. Barth, or St. Bart’s for many English speakers, is a small island in the French West Indies. Like Capri, it draws in a tony and trendy crowd each season, due to its legendary beauty and swanky beach lifestyle.

Also, just like Capri, St. Barthelemy is small, less than 10 sq. miles in size, but it feels a lot bigger, because it’s so hilly and craggy. There is the main port, Gustavia, where the best restaurants and bars are clustered, and then there are the sections, or Quarters, on the other side of the hill to the east, the north and south.

St. Jean St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Because of the St. Barth’s orientation, some areas on the island offer fab sunset views, while others will give you more morning sun. Some areas boast long sweeps of beach that are home to world-famous hotels and Riviera-style beach life, while others are downright quiet and 'neighborhoody'. Then there are those spots that have a more remote feel, and one should not be surprised to see visitors enjoying the sun and sea au naturel. All of these different sides of St. Barts, mind you, are within short distances of each other.

Even as a visitor, you quickly adapt to the size and short distances take on greater proportion. After hanging on out St. Barth for a few days, a 15-minute drive can seem quite long!

Here is a guide to considering which zone may be right for you, along with a stand-out villa that will give you easy access to the area.

Gustavia – St. Barth

If there is a downtown, a heart, a capital of St. Barth, it is Gustavia. This is where the main harbor is, where visitors arriving by ferry from St. Martin or by private yacht slip into town. It’s also where most of the eating, dining and shopping – and partying - gets done. If you want to stay close to where the action is, to where the Kardashian and Hilton-crowd will get into trouble, consider staying near the Gustavia town.

Gustavia St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by  Shanon Searls


Axel Rocks Villa – Located in Gustavia

Very updated and modern “adult” house within a 10-15-minute (steep) walk to central Gustavia, so the house and you can be party central. This is the sort of house that shows up in celebrity Instagram feeds.

Because you’re right in town, you’re also very close to Shell Beach, one of the most popular on the island. Kids love it because of all the little shells that ring the waterline, hence the name.

Axel Rocks Villa St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Axel Rocks Gustavia St.. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What we liked about Axel Rocks:

  • Great villa for partying adults, has a sort of high-end Vegas or Miami quality to it
  • Beautiful and unobstructed views of the Caribbean
  • Infinity pool with a “underground” window to peak at the swimmers (hello)
  • Celebrities have stayed here, think Miami meets LA for a vibe.
  • Looks sharp on Instagram feeds.


  • We feel it’s not really for kids, as there’s a big glass/resin spiral staircase that does not look friendly to little (or big) wet feet. It’s just very “adult.”

Corossol – St. Barth

Looking at the map, Corossol is not far from Gustavia town, on the same southwestern side of the island. A map belies the topography which is very hilly indeed, so it’s by no means just a straight shot from town. The hilliness helps to keep this little spot cove-like and private.

What’s great about Corossol is its historic nature as a local fishing village. While there are some modern dwellings being precariously and impressively etched out of the upper slopes, the waterfront is dominated by simple homes; these are the cottages belonging to the areas long-time residents, many of whom made their lives on the sea. At night you can walk by and still see fishing net hanging on the walls of some of the cottages. A saint sits atop of a large boulder here, a memorial for fishermen.

Corossol St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Corossol St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

If you want to get away from the trendy party set, this little beach is a great spot for an afternoon swim. Also, because of its orientation, you’ll even be able to catch a sunset here. We did and it was marvelous!

For digs, we think the view from above can’t be beat.


St. Bart's Executive Villa – Located in Corossol

St. Bart's Executive Villa is a very modern two-bedroom villa overlooking the Corossol-side of St. Bart's, with beautiful blue waters. The villa has three bedrooms, with two very large masters upstairs on opposite ends of a large the living room and a room off the pool area. There is also an incredible terrace. The views from this home, including the bedrooms, are stunning. We call it the Executive Villa because you’re quite simply at the top of the heap here, literally and figuratively. 

St. Bart's Executive Villa St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo
Executive Villa Corossol St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What We Liked About St. Bart's Executive Villa:

  • Updated, modern executive style; sleek and any demanding visitor will have a hard time finding issue.
  • The home is on a quiet hillside – birds chirping, and an infinity pool/patio looks out to ocean and Saba island; great sunsets!
  • It’s VERY techy - TVs drop down from ceiling; geeky tech people will love it.
  • Located above one of the more “local” neighborhoods
  • Large master on the entire upper-level with private jacuzzi and lanai
  • Perfect place for New Year’s Eve as you can see the fireworks going off above Gustavia!


  • The villa is located way at the top of a steep drive. This may be an issue for some tepid drivers.
  • We recommend a Mini Cooper to navigate the narrow steep roads

St Jean – St. Barth

The next area that we’ll discuss is St. Jean. St. Jean/St. Jean Bay is just over the saddle of the island from Gustavia, on the north side of St. Barth. The beach is adjacent to the airport, which means planes can come quite low over the western end. No big planes here though, so no worries on noise from big jet traffic.

St. Jean St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

St. Jean St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Besides being a fun area with convenience stores, little markets and cafes and boutiques, St. Jean is quite famous for the its grand sweep of beach and the Eden Rock Hotel that is (was/will be) the center of beach life there. Surprisingly, St. Barth is a fun little surfing destination during the right swell, and you’ll see surfers out at St. Jean on a regular basis. It can get quite fun, and there are surf shops here (our Concierge should also be able to hook you up). 

We liked St. Jean because it felt a like a complete neighborhood unto itself, meaning you didn’t need to go into Gustavia if you didn’t want to, as the local shops and the big mall across the street from the airport have everything you can possibly need, including a supermarket to stock up your villa!

St. Barts Beachfront Villa – Located in St. Jean

If you like the idea of staying right on the beach, then the aptly named St. Barts Beachfront Villa may be for you. The villa is an updated and modern four-bedroom beachfront property. The home comes with a great pool and even a little “nanny cottage” in back yard. The home is a favorite of Hollywood A-listers vacationing with family.

St. Jean St. Barts Beachfront Villa - Exotic Estates - John Di Rienzo

What we liked about St. Barts Beachfront Villa:

  • Beautiful beachfront property on St. Jean beach – one of the best beaches on St. Barts– a local favorite, also good for surfing!
  • Four-bedrooms, all with en-suite baths
  • Massive overflow pool on the beachfront patio
  • Gazebo on the beach-side
  • Pearl Beach, the restaurant of the Tom Beach Hotel, is “a stone’s throw away” – perfect for beers and cocktails
  • Superette/Super Market close
  • Could work for two or three families traveling together
  • There is a separate living area from the bedrooms that’s nice for entertaining


  • On the beach, so be sure to watch little kids and no swimming past the designated areas.

Saline Beach – St. Barth

Going down to the south side of the island, Saline is another special area on St. Barths due to its sense of remoteness. It’s quite strange as nothing is far from anything else on this island, though Saline feels somewhat remote.

Saline St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

The area gets its name from its original role in salt production, you can still see the salt ponds as you approach (above). The beach is quiet, the water is Caribbean blue, and there is a nature reserve on one end. This leads us to our next dramatic home.

Dunes – Located in Saline St. Barth

If you are looking for a large villa that will offer total privacy or a villa that can host an incredible destination wedding if desired, consider Dunes. This home makes a statement.  From its hulking size to the edgy, modern, open-air architectural concepts, it could easily feature as the St. Barth retreat of a sexy James Bond villain.

The villa sits on the other side of a nature reserve on Saline beach, so it’s VERY private and BIG – good for destination weddings. It’s an extravagant home that’s very modern, with a massive driveway that goes under the house and allows guests to go directly into the home, almost like a hotel.

Dune Villa St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

Dune Villa Saline Beach St. Barth  - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Dune Villa Saline Beach St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What we like about Dunes:

  • Extremely private villa – you are in your own world here
  • Private road to get to the villa at end of Saline Beach
  • Easy beach access
  • Ideal for big events and destination weddings
  • Huge open dining, living and kitchen area, this is about entertaining
  • All bedrooms are en-suite and have terrace access
  • Massive pool area on two levels
  • On-site caretaker


  • 15-minutes to town
  • Premium budgets

Gouverneur St. Barths

Located down on the southern point of St. Barts is the gorgeous area of Gouverneur. This area is next to Saline and just beyond Lurin. What striking about Gouverneur is its beach. Truly a stunning stretch of sand that is literaly home to billionaires. Lucky for you, you can stay above the beach and look down on the entire epic, from a lofty perch, in utter comfort.

Gouverneur St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

There are three properties at the top here that can be rented together if there is a large party, but we’re going to focus on just two.


St. Barts Gouverneur Beach Villa – Located in Gouverneur

This villa is the highest of the set of three. It’s very clean looking with an unbelievable infinity pool, designed so the pool meets the Caribbean in the most dramatic way. It almost seems as though sailboats anchored below are going to sail right into your pool! This property is modern and bright and comes with a view that will take your breath away.

Gouverneur Beach Villa St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Goueverneur Dream St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

Goueverneur Dream St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls
What we like about it Gouverneur Beach Villa:

  • Crazy gorgeous infinity pool and terrace view – billion-dollar views
  • Very updated with clean surfaces and mod, but comfy, furniture design
  • Unparalleled views of the beach below
  • Fun architectural elements that make use of its position at the top of a rocky cliff. The rock is incorporated into two of the rooms, a TV viewing bed/ “bedroom” downstairs and the bathroom next to it. Kids young and old will LOVE this little nook for watching TV and sleeping. Very unique.
  • Modern, clean kitchen.
  • Could work for a family or friends sharing.


  • None. No-brainer!

Gouverneur Jewel – Located in Gouverneur

This is a one-bedroom villa, with a very unique interior design, totally different from the others. This sleek villa screams romantic weekend for two or honeymoon. It’s located in between two other villas but is totally private.

Goueverneur Jewel St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Goueverneur Jewel St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What we liked about Gouverneur Jewel:

  • Very sexy design – private round pool with black and gold tiles
  • Good size for a one-bedroom
  • Totally updated
  • Private outdoor setting, this place screams clothing optional, nobody can look up or over and see people in the pool or on the small deck.
  • Steam room/Hammam


  • Petite, designed for a couple. No families or sharing.
  • Not so much about the view as it’s got lots of vegetation around for privacy.
  • Kitchen alcove – not for people looking to play gourmet chef on their vacation

Anse des Cayes – St Barths

This little neighborhood is just over the saddle of the island, to the north of Gustavia. Driving from Gustavia you climb to the top of a hill and bear left at a roundabout that takes you up and over to the neighborhood. It’s a nice spot because the airport and St. Jean are just as close as Gustavia.

Also, right in front of the airport is the largest shopping mall on the island, making it an essential spot to stop and purchase items for your villa. The island’s largest supermarket is located there, so it’s easy to run over to the shops from your villa in this area.

Many of the homes in Anse des Cayes sit over a gorgeous sweep of beach, which is often barking with waves. It’s a favorite spot of surfers but it can be rocky so perhaps not the best swimming beach. Lovely for walking and there is a little liquor store just down by the water.  However, this little spot feels quiet and neighborhoody, and we loved its position that made it close to town, the shops at the airport mall, and to the beaches at St. Jean and Lorient.

Anse des Cayes St. Barth - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo


Villa Cayes – Located in Anse des Cayes

A gorgeous little two-bedroom villa boasting incredible views of the Caribbean, this charming abode boasts a classic Caribbean style.

Villa Cayes St Barth - Exotic Estates - bu John Di Rienzo

Villa Cayes St. Barths - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What we liked about Villa Cayes:

  • Clean and simple
  • Classically Caribbean with lots of wood and teak with a nautical theme.
  • Beautiful views of the bay
  • Walking distance to the best surf beach on island
  • Large outdoor area with shaded gazebo.


  • No brainer! Perfect for friends sharing or a small family.


Anse du Petit Cul de Sac – St. Barth

Located in the far eastern side of St. Barth is the area of Petit Cul de Sac. You’re only perhaps 15 or 20 minutes from Bulgari and Cartier in Gustavia, but it’s feels a world away.  In this section of the island, the ocean waves can be strong.  There are some spas and activities to be enjoyed here, so you may not find any reason to leave Petit Cul de Sac!

Exotic Estates - Petit Cul de Sac - by Shanon Searls


St. Barts Seaside Villa – Petit Cul de Sac area

Located at the end of a private drive, with a commanding presence on a massive tract of oceanfront land, we found a chic and family-friendly four-bedroom property that ends on a dramatic beach – rocky but you are walking distance to famous natural rock pools that more adventurous types will enjoy.

St. Barts Seaside Villa - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

Exotic Estates St. Barths - by Shanon Searls

St Barths Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

What We Like About St. Barts Seaside Villa:

  • Private road
  • Location is incredible – very large oceanfront property with a walking path to the beach and natural pools.
  • Warm and friendly – would fit in with East Hampton with ease; it has an East Coast sort of lived-in upscale quality
  • Private gym, good for families sharing as well
  • Massive deck with pool and covered dining area that walks down to yard.
  • Great for an event or destination wedding.
  • This is luxury and family-friendly at the same time, again, like an old family beach house out on Long Island.


  • One of the furthest from Gustavia – about a 15 or 20-minute drive, but the location could not be more peaceful, utterly private and relaxing.


These are just a few spots to get your St. Barth vacation ideas flowing. There’s also Lurin and Lorient, and all of them offer something special.

Contact us today and we’ll connect you with a luxury Exotic Estates St. Barth Vacation Rental!

Gustavia St. Barth - Food and Drink Tips urn:uuid:9dde4995-496a-140f-72e1-e4a1d0718668 2018-11-28T01:29:16-07:00 Hanging Out in Gustavia Town St. Barth

Gustavia is St. Barths hometown, the main harbor of arrival for those in yachts and ferries arriving from St. Martin. Coming in from the rough open sea is an experience, the water is beautiful, a gorgeous aquamarine that’s Caribbean clear.

St. Barth - Gustavia Harbor - Shanon Arrival

Pulling into the port you’ll notice its tidy appearance, with some large colonial-looking buildings on one side a row of tidy shopfronts on the other, the main street or “high street.”  As you get closer, you’ll start to notice some familiar names. Bulgari, Cartier, Prada, Hermes, they’re all there, lined up like a mini 5th Avenue.

St Barts - Gustavia - Prada- John Di Rienzo

St Barts Gustavia - Cartier - John Di Rienzo

All the luxury shops are exactly what you might expect to find in this storied place. However, for us, the real charm of this town lies in the quiet streets behind the shops, in the little bars and restaurants where life happens. We enjoyed good meals and bars here in Gustavia.

St. Barth Gustavia Bars We Liked

Le Select

Out of all the bars and bistros, this rustic bar has been around the longest. The sign says since 1949 and there is a definite shabby-chic sailor vibe in this one-room garage of a bar.

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - Le Select Bar - Shanon Searls

Everyone comes, or ends up, here during a stay and it’s easy to understand why. It’s got the patina of a classic spot, a place for titans of industry and local people to tie one on. As a Brooklyn expat, this place reminded me a lot of an old restaurant called Robin Dubois, filled with memories of many a dizzy evening, pastis and other booze at the ready.

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - Le Select and Shanon Searls - John Di Rienzo

You can order burgers and fast food here and dine out on the patio, on the plastic chairs, like everyone else. A good place for a cheap snack on this otherwise pricey little island.

Bar Del L’Oubli

This bar is just across the street from Select and has corner charm. It has that classic French bistro look, with a great awning and a perfectly lit space that is open to the street. It is inviting and certainly draws a crowd.

There’s plenty of booze, with a more traditional French bistro vibe. We asked if they had a pilsner or a Stella, and the bar tender simply replied “No," and that was the end of that, there was nothing else offered. After some further querying we were served a Carib, the ubiquitous cheap, local light beer, sort of like Corona in Mexico. We drank this beer a lot in St. Martin and St. Barth.

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - Bar Del L'Oubli - Shanon Searls


We ended up at Quarter one night after wonderful dinner with local friends at Bonito, a trendy restaurant just up the street.

This is a bistro with eclectic Asian and regional tapas bites, however, we didn’t dine so we cannot comment directly on the cuisine. Reports are the food is quite good. The bar, on the other hand, was hopping.  There was a trendy barman and plenty of excellent cocktails to be enjoyed.

The restaurant and bar staff were very welcoming and fun. The crowd was a mix of locals and visitors. If you are in St. Barth during the season, you will likely find your way to this fun place at least one night.

This bar has a secret as well. We love bars with secrets and we’re not telling. Email for reservations:

St. Barts Factoid

American Express is not widely taken here, so be prepared to bring another card that does not have foreign transaction fees, or take money out of the ATMs. The currency used in St. Barth is the Euro.

Restaurants in Gustavia St. Barth

We had our own villa, of course, during our stay on St. Barth, so we enjoyed eating at home on the gorgeous patio of our villa, which overlooked a rough ocean beach.

However, we did dine at several good spots in Gustavia during our stay on St. Barth.

Le Repaire**

One of the places we ended up dining at fairly often was Le Repaire, located just across the street from Gustavia Harbor. The reason we dined here was out of convenience more than anything, but we kept coming back because the food was consistent, the pricing reasonable, the location central. Moreover, it is always open, even on Sundays when the entire town closes shop, you’ll be able to have a meal here. The gazpacho soup below was delicious. You can phone them for more info at +590 590 27-7248.

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - Le Repaire - John Di Rienzo

Fish Corner Food and Market***

This is a great little place tucked behind the main drag in Gustavia, near Bar Del L’Oubli. If I had to pick a favorite spot for food, it would be Fish Corner Food and Market. It’s small and serves up fresh local catch each day. There are large local fish on ice as you come in and you can just tell that the food is going to be superb. We enjoyed local catch, which was cooked and presented beautifully, and had one of the best lemon meringue desserts we had ever tried. This is a wonderful little spot for lunch, but it will be crowded. You can message them on Facebook.

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - Fish Corner Food and Market - John Di Rienzo

Bonito - Open Table Link

This is an island favorite, a charming spot that has a feel very Hamptons feel about it. In fact, there were New Yorkers all around us.

We enjoyed mainly fish here, and they are known for their ceviche, which we enjoyed. We also shared roasted octopus and tacos, the Mahi Mahi, and we have it on good authority that the beef tenderloin is quite good.

This is a one of the trendier dining spots in town and it’s easy to understand why, the atmosphere is beachy and warm, and the service is great.  


We did not have time to dine at L’Isola during our stay, but it was highly recommended by locals as the best restaurant in town. This Italian restaurant is housed in a small house-like building in Gustavia. It’s very unassuming and simple on the outside, and we are told that the interior is upscale, and the food is superb.

Unlike Bonito and other restaurants, this restaurant is not open to the air, which is something to consider if you are looking for a more Caribbean ambiance. You can view more on their website.

Driving on St. Barts

Getting to and from your villa (or hotel) and the restaurants in Gustavia will involve driving. Beware that the roads are narrow, and the people here drive the way they do in France and Italy, meaning a bit aggressively. Cars wiz by you inches away.

St Barth Villa Renters Tip

There are few named roads here outside of the main town of Gustavia. Interestingly, there are no real addresses – each house has a name.  You get used to it quickly, but it’s difficult to map an address for a villa.

Therefore, be careful to recognize landmarks and driveways, as we did not pay attention on our first day and returning home at night was a bit of a challenge – all the driveways looked the same in the dark! Luckily the name of the villa was written on one of the mailboxes at the end of the drive and we were able to figure it out. This is a common occurrence with villa renters here.

Steep, Narrow Drives

Very often, the villas are located up steep, narrow drives, off which are several homes. This means that turning around or simply turning out of your driveway can be tricky because sometimes you cannot see what’s coming around bend. Somehow it all seems to work out, but this is not an island for the faint-at-heart driver. You’ve got to be comfortable behind the wheel. The views below are worth the payoff, but you can't take an elevator when you rent here!

St Barth Villas Exotic Estates - view - John Di Rienzo

The rental car of choice here is the Mini Cooper. You see them everywhere as they are small yet allow for a little storage for shopping and beach trips. There are also some cute little electric-type buggies, and these look like a handy way to get around the island.

St. Barts Factoid:

The postman basically knows a villa/cottage or the residents on the island, so s/he will deliver the mail old-school village style, e.g. oh this is Jean’s parcel.  Also, residents will go online to see if something arrived in the post office with their name on it and go down and pick it up – St. Bart’s chill chic at your service.

European Business Hours and Sunday Shutdowns – St. Barth Villa Renters Beware!

The last thing we will advise is American visitors is to be conscious of the European business hours. Many stores will open in the morning, close for lunch and then open again in the afternoon. However, beware of Sundays, as it can be difficult to find anything open, including restaurants and bars. St. Barth asks you to please relax and enjoy an unhurried day on Sunday, and we think it's a great idea.

You just will want to pick up groceries, water or any other item you may need on Saturday!

Check out Exotic Estates St. Barth villas and plan your escape today!

Merci, Au Revoir!

John and Shanon - Exotic Estates

Favorite Maui Restaurants - New Bites! urn:uuid:8b9dcce1-28e1-dad9-e4a1-df7f0898c936 2018-11-19T21:26:18-07:00 Maui Restaurant Buzz

Lineage Maui - New October 2018!
Tel: (808) 879-8800

We’ve had staffers who recently went to Lineage Maui tell us it was awesome! Fun, trendy atmosphere. This is the new restaurant of Sheldon Simeon, of “Top Chef” fame. The restaurant features local Hawaiian and Filipino food with a twist.

Chef Simeon says that most of the dishes at Lineage were inspired by recipes he learned from his Filipino parents and grandparents. Growing up near Hilo, Simeon would often have hunt and fish to bring back the meats necessary for family meals. It was during this time that Simeon learned many of the Filipino recipes that are featured on Lineage’s menu.

With 80 seats and a bar area, Lineage has an intimate and cozy feel. Simeon says he wants guests to feel as if they just walked into a friend’s home when they enter his restaurant. To give this effect, carts will make their way through the restaurant and offer small bites before guests order their main meal. A few of these small dishes include boiled peanuts, kimchi, and cone sushi.

The restaurant offers “cart dishes,” which are similar to Dim Sum. We’re told that the pipikaula (Hawaiian jerky) with cuttlefish was yummy as was the pohole (edible fiddlehead fern) salad!

We’ve heard rave reviews about his pork and peas – a Filipino comfort dish - and that the squid luau and smoke meat and onion were on point! An interesting hook, we ordered the chicharron which they serve with their homemade chili pepper water in a cool bottle, which you get to take home with you.

As far as drinks, a team member reports the following:

  • Makule Kiawe – a version of a Manhattan - is strong and delicious. Not too smoky.
  • The South Side Southside – a team member loved this, a gin drink, but the flavors were light and not an overbearing gin flavor. Served with Wasabi Peas and ginger. Great cocktail to start with!
  • The Latitude 20 – a tequila drink that we’re told is delicious!

They also have a great selection Sake.

As far as vibe, we’re told it’s ideal for date night or adult friends dining together.

Visitors who are new to Hawaiian or “local” cuisine will be in for a treat. However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive local place, be sure to try Tutu’s.

Tin Roof
Tel: (808) 868-0753

Lineage promises to be just as successful as Simeon’s first Maui dining location Tin Roof. Situated in a tiny strip mall near the Kahului Airport, Tin Roof has been incredibly successful since it opened its doors to guests in 2016.

This tiny eatery is best-known for its affordable takeaway bowls inspired by simple Hawaiian cooking. Customers at Tin Roof can order rice bowls filled with garlic shrimp, ginger-marinated chicken thighs, deep-fried pork belly, or chop steak for under $10. Tin Roof also offers poke bowls, garlic noodles, a kale salad, and a spicy chicken sandwich. Unlike Lineage, Tin Roof is designed for locals and visitors on a Maui vacation who are looking for a quick bite.


West Maui Restaurants – Lahaina to Kapalua

Lahaina Shore - John Di Rienzo - Exotic Estates

Lahaina Grill
Tel: (808) 667-5117

We are big fans of Lahaina Grill, which our Maui team members feel is still the best restaurant on the island. This is a wonderful restaurant that continually gets good reviews from our guests.

Honu (Hawaiian for sea turtle)
Tel: (808) 667-9390

Our local team members love Honu, a seafood restaurant in Lahaina. It’s great for families and the menu offers something for everyone. Our team feels that Honu is among the top restaurants on Maui.

Tel: (808) 669-6400

incredible setting, Happy Hour is really a bit of a misnomer, as they just serve a pricey “bar menu” on the lanai and call it a Happy Hour. Our team members report that the food is good, but the ambiance is unbeatable. For that, they are a top Maui restaurant.

South Maui – Kihei to Wailea

South Maui - John Di Rienzo

Maui Brewing Co
Tel: (808) 201-BEER

There are multiple locations of Maui Brewing Co., but the brewery in Kihei has expanded. It’s huge and instead of having the food trucks outside, they now have a full menu available from their own kitchen. We’re not sure about a food verdict just yet, but they have some fun drinks on offer, including nice cider options as well as their freshly brewed beers. The space is enormous!! Definitely a good spot to check out if you have craft beer lovers in your group!

Nalu’s South Shore Grill
Tel: (808) 891-8650

This is a favorite of some of our team members on Maui. Nalu’s is a super casual, local joint in Kihei with surprisingly fresh, farm to table bar food. The restaurant is dog friendly, so expect some local pooches nearby.

Food is ordered at the counter and it’s brought to the table. This is a great place to catch local musicians like Barry Flannigan and Amy Hanai’ali’i.

Tel: (808) 874-8000

This restaurant has great views and is one of the only places on the south side of Maui that’s on the water. Ferraro’s is an open-air space, boasting sunset views, plenty of seating, live music and a hula dancer from 5:30-6:30 nightly. They have everything from Dim Sum to cheeseburgers! The food is “decent: but it’s really about the views and you are paying for the name here (Four Seasons).

Restaurant at Hotel Wailea
Tel: (808) 879-2224

Super romantic setting, with good (if pricey) food. Makes the list for ambiance, for sure. Hotel Wailea is also an “adult only” resort so this is a good spot for a date night.


Tel Wailea: (808) 891-2322
Tel Kaanapali: (808) 878-6763

Still a Maui favorite. There is one in Wailea and in Kaanapali. Everything from Ahi to Maui Cattle Company Cheese Burgers and Bulgogi Pork Tacos. Reservations are imperative

Maui North Shore Restaurants – Paia Town Area

Maui Paia - Exotic Estates (stk)

Mama’s Fish House
Tel: (808) 579-8488

This is a Maui favorite. We’ve recently been told by regular Maui guests who love the restaurant recently that while Mama’s is still good, it’s, “not as good as it used to be or not worth the price tag and drive.” That’s something to consider for folks staying in West Maui, as it’s on the North Shore, near Paia Town.

Note: it’s a far drive  from Lahaina and they don’t take reservations for more than 8 people. 

Lunch and dinner menu are the same so while it might be an expensive lunch, daytime is a great time to dine there.

Tel: (808) 572-2666

Nice restaurant with everything Ahi Poke and Caesar Salad to Grilled Rack of Lamb.  Still good and nestled into a fun spot, upcountry from Paia town. Be mindful of drive time if you’re staying in Lahaina.

Tel: (808) 579-8755

This is a favorite in Paia, we recommend this for people who are going north shore and don’t want to do Mama’s.

Note that Café de Amis, Café Mambo, Island Fresh Café and Pa’ia Flatbread would also all be in the mix for the north shore.

Packing for Winter Vacation on Maui urn:uuid:dda0be0d-36ed-ed97-4c05-04307762f645 2018-11-20T11:17:51-07:00 Winter Vacation on Maui

Visiting Maui, Hawaii, during the winter is a sure way to enjoy some much-needed sunshine during the gray winter months in most of the US and Canada.

During the winter season, while it never gets cold, the weather is cooler and beautiful. It’s also the rainy season here in Hawaii, so there is a chance for wetter weather.

Preparing for a Maui winter is easy, but there are some scenarios you should be prepared for. Read through the article below and you’ll be well on your way to having a fabulous Maui vacation this winter season.

The guidelines outlined below apply generally to all the Hawaiian Islands, so whether you are going to Kauai, Oahu or the Big Island of Hawaii, the same guidelines will apply.

Maui - Exotic Estates (Stk)

Weather in Maui During Winter

Located in Northern Hemisphere, winter months in Maui are between November and February.

As for temperatures, expect days to range from the 70s to the 80s and the nights to dip down to the 60s.

Storms will come through Maui during the winter months that create a spectacular scenery on the coast. Winds can also pick up and can reach up to 20 mph (sometimes gusts get up to 35 mph). This makes the North Shore of Maui a perfect spot for windsurfing in the winter, and the world’s best windsurfer and kite surfers make their way to Hookipa beach.

Windsurfing - Maui - Exotic Estates (stk)

From the bluffs there, you can watch these athletes charge massive swells and catch big air. When you’re finished, you can enjoy a meal at Mama’s Fish House or something more casual in nearby Paia Town, with its crunchy culture.

Snow? Maybe! If you're lucky, you may even see a bit of snow on the way upper slopes of Haleakala. Hawaiian snow is relatively rare and fleeting, but there is a chance for a white Christmas here!

What to Pack for Your Maui Winter Vacation

Packing for winter vacation on Maui is sort of like packing for a beach vacation in late spring. You’ll want everything you typically need for a beach holiday, swimsuits, shorts and short sleeves shirts and sunblock. But the evenings may be breezy and cool, and it may rain more than usual, especially in the evening, so you’ll want to bring light jackets or hoodies and some rain gear with you on your Maui winter vacation.

Here is a list of the essentials you need to pack for your stay:

  • Shorts and the usual beachy dress code.
  • One or two pairs of pants. Even though there will be days where you can enjoy Maui in shorts, you'll want some warmer clothes for the nights and cooler days.
  • Waterproof bags. Whatever you carry your phones and wallets in, be sure it's able to withstand the potential for a heavy tropical shower!
  • Rain Gear. That means ponchos, waterproof clothes and shoes. Stay dry!
  • Binoculars. Winter in Maui means whale watching on the shores. Be sure to have a pair of binoculars to get a better view!

Believe it or not, the summer months are most popular travel months for Maui and Hawaii generally. This is due to school vacations. Therefore, during the winter, you will find that Maui can be less crowded during the winter, especially when you are there on non-school holiday weeks. However, when a passing tropical shower hits, it can slow down traffic on the roads. The showers can be brief and intense, so best to take it slow.

Maui - Sacred Pools - Exotic Estates (stk)

If you are planning to snorkel, be mindful if you've reserved a spot on any tours and there is a prolonged heavy downpour or lots of shore break, as snorkel spots can become cloudy with sand and mountain streams can become quite swollen. Give your concierge or tour guide a call to make sure the conditions will withstand. 


One of the great upsides of winter travel are the waterfalls. With the additional rain showers, the waterfalls are usually in full force, so looking into any valley or mountain will usually payoff with stunning scenes befitting of any tropical paradise.

Accommodations in Maui

Renting a vacation home on Maui and across the Hawaiian Islands is popular all seasons. However, you’re going to want to speak with a villa specialist to get a sense of the micro climate a home may be in. Some Hawaiian Villas, while just a few miles from sunny skies, can be in wetter and more overcast micro climates, especially at the higher elevations and inland areas.

Maui Luxury Villa - Exotic Estates

A Maui villa vacation is a great way to vacation with family and get to know this island. Staying in a Maui Vacation Rental lets you make this amazing island your home away from home!

We hope this article has helped you prepare for your winter trip to Maui! It's an incredible place any time of the year (especially in the winter when the climate is more temperate, and whales are off shore saying 'hello'). Have fun and happy vacationing!

Exotic Estates - Maui Villa Specialists

Christmas on Maui - Mele Kalikimaka urn:uuid:fa6ff47f-4608-1f8f-b94c-0cc3bdffbcae 2018-11-15T14:35:32-07:00 Christmas on Maui

Christmas on the Hawaiian Island of Maui is special, as it includes things like luaus and Santa arriving by canoe instead of a sled. Taking a Maui vacation for the holidays is one of the most unique experiences you will ever have. Whether you stay in one of our family perfect Maui villas or at a hotel, you're sure to enjoy a uniquely Hawaiian Christmas experience.

Whalers Kaanapali - by John Di Rienzo

Maui Christmas Weather 

There are several climate zones on the island and the weather can be different in each one! Generally, the temperatures for a Maui Christmas are between 70 and 80 during the day and dips into the 60s at night, so it's a good idea to bring along a hoodie or a light sweater for the evenings, especially if you are staying in a vacation home at a higher elevations, where it can cooler.

There are also storms during the winter that create massive swells that make for incredible beach viewing along the north and east coastlines. This is when the famous Peahi or Jaws surf break comes alive.

While Maui is known as a tropical paradise, it does get snow but it is rare and fleeting. The most common place for snow is on the summit of Haleakala, a mountain rising to a 10,000-foot elevation. 

Maui Haleakala - Exotic Estates (stck)

Maui Christmas Tree Lighting 

Maui has a ceremonial holiday tree lighting as do many towns in the US mainland, but it's special on the island because the lighting is in Lahaina at the old Banyan tree.

The tree, more than 60 feet tall and has multiple tunks, making it look like many tree growing into one big canapy. The tree was a gift of missionaries in India to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the first American Protestant mission. It was planted in 1873 and is the largest such tree in the United States. 

The lighting itself is different from other Maui holiday activities. At the Banyan Tree Lighting, the lights showcase the trunk and prop roots so it is like walking in a tropical wonderland. 

Walking under the tree in the evening is magical and the noise from the many nesting birds can be quite loud!

Lahaina Banyan Tree- John Di Rienzo

First Night Celebration 

This year on Maui, Christmas kicks off Nov. 28 at the Kaluanui Estate, a historic venue, with the First Night Celebration. The event features music, food, drinks and lots of art. Local artists, craftsmen and vendors will be there to provide what you need to complete your holiday gift list. 

The holiday spirit continues with all kinds of performances throughout the season at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. The center highlights local talent as well as well-known artists. There are plenty of shops and food available to keep you going in between performances. 

Santa Visits Maui

Santa does get around and just like the rest of us, Santa loves to visit Maui. The difference is that here you never know how and where he will show up during your Maui vacation!

Sometimes he comes by canoe and other times by jet ski, boat or sleigh. Sometimes, he even flies in a helicopter! However he visits, Exotic Estates Maui advisors will be able to tell you the exact time and place. Usually, he visits during the Christmas luau. 

Santa Hat Maui - Jenn Findlay

Christmas Luaus 

A beach luau for Christmas is an experience no one should miss. Hotels and restaurants have luaus all the time, but two favorites are on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Most luaus include  traditional Hawaiian food like pig and laulau, and traditional mainland dishes like duck, turkey and lots of desserts.

Hawaii Luau - Exotic Estates (Stck)

One of the joys of renting a vacation home on Maui with friends and family is that you are free to make your own holiday celebration! You can usually dine indoor or out and can even mix in a little beach time. This is why so many people come back to Hawaii and Maui in particular year after years, they can mix Hawaiian and Christmas vibes like a craft holiday cocktail to be savored by all! 

Maui Holiday Activities - Including Whale Watching 

Maui offers culture and activities for the holidays you will not find anywhere else. From whale watching to attending the theater show at the Maui Theater in Lahaina called "Ulalena," there are amazing things to see and do for a Maui Christmas!

Whale-watching season kicks off in November, so if you are in Maui in December, expect to see the wintering humpback whales breaching offshore. Of course, you can and should plan a whale watching trip to get a uniquely closely look at these gorgeous creatures! You Exotic Estates local Maui tram can assist with all of your trip planning.

Whale Watching - Lahaina

Mahalo and Mele Kalikimaka!

Getting to St. Barth urn:uuid:4591b04a-131b-e8b8-75e6-28f3a7ffdcbc 2018-11-15T11:44:42-07:00 Getting to St. Barth or Saint Barthélemy can range from a mild hassle to fabulous depending, frankly, on your means. Saint Barthélemy is not served by jets, but the island does have a small airport that supports scheduled prop flights from other Caribbean islands and, of course, private planes. This certainly serves to keep the island free from mass tourism and adds to a sense of exclusivity. 

In addition to the small airport, there is a ferry that runs from St. Martin several times per day and, of course, there is the option of taking your private yacht into the harbor. Again, it’s a question of means.

Bring Your Passport

When traveling to St. Barths or other Caribbean islands, even by ferry, expect to be treated as if you are arriving in an international port. St. Barths is a territory of France and as such, you are essentially entering France when you go to St. Barths. You will be asked for your passport so please be ready to bring your passport with you in order to get on the ferry or other mode of transport. 

Getting from St. Martin to St. Barth Via Ferry

On a recent tour of Exotic Estates’ villas in the Caribbean, the team took the ferry from St.  Martin to St. Barths.

Voyager Ferries

Getting to St. Barts from St. Martin is easy via the Voyager Ferries, which operates a high-speed ferry with varying travel times ranging from 30 minutes to a little over a one hour, depending on whether you leave from the French side port (Marigot) or the east side of the island. The ferry from Marigot is the longer ride and the one we took.

Voyager Ferries - St. Martin to St. Barths

NOTE: Potential rough seas – warning for those prone to motion sickness

The seas are rough most days (with the winds coming from the North Atlantic), so those who suffer from sea-sickness may want to consider taking a flight instead. It’s a relatively short hop from either St. Martin or Puerto Rico. Two people were violently ill on our ride.

Business Class on Ferry:

We enjoyed the comforts of business class on the ferry, and we can recommend the service without question. Business class on the ferry was positioned in a small, clean and air-conditioned indoor cabin on the upper level of the boat, close to the captain’s bridge. There were outlets, but you will need a European adaptor (note that can be a hassle on the island).

Voyager Ferries St. Martin to St. Barth - by John Di Rienzo

Schedule Changes

Our ferry was supposed to depart at 12:30 from Oyster Pond on the east side of the island, but we were notified a couple days prior that they were not longer able to accommodate the departure time. We chose a new departure time of 9:30 a.m. from Marigot. This worked out in our favor as we arrived on St. Barths earlier and enjoyed a full day.

St. Barth Gustavia Harbor - by John Di Rienzo

Flying Into St. Barths

There is no nonstop service between the US Mainland and St. Barths. There is, however, regional service via WinAir and St. Barth Commuter airlines, as well as helicopter service from St. Martin.

St. Barths Airport View - John Di Rienzo

Essentially, you will need to fly to either Puerto Rico or St. Martin; note that there is additional service from Antigua. For US travelers, the easiest place to connect will be in Puerto Rico or St. Martin due to the availability of scheduled air service to both destinations from several US cities.

WinAir is certainly a big player down in the Caribbean, and you can check out their website here.

A Note of Regional Flying: While we did not WinAir to St. Barth, we did use regional operator Liat for a hop from St. Martin to Nevis and found them to be quite professional and comfortable, operating a larger ATR prop jet on the short route.

Yachting It Into St. Barths

Perhaps no other way is more “St. Barths” than pulling your own yacht or sailboat into St. Barth's pristine harbor at Gustavia. Let’s just say, visitors here like to make an entrance, with impossibility big boats sitting out in the harbor like floating mansions. If you can name a massive celebrity, royal or bonvivant, chances are they've made an entrance here. 

We were in St. Barths just before the season, which begins roughly around Thanksgiving and runs through early spring. While we were there, one of the massive private yachts pulled into the harbor and locals all considered it a bit of a novelty because it was “early,” not because it was the size of a large house.

St Barths Harbor by John Di Rienzo

When you’re planning your visit to St. Barths here are the general rules:

  • If anyone in your group gets seasick, avoid the ferry service and fly into the airport via plane or helicopter.
  • If rocking boats are okay with you, the ferry service is convenient and allows you to enjoy a day getting acclimated to the Caribbean vibe in always fun, always friendly, St. Martin. Figure on a couple hours transfer time at least to get yourself from St. Martin (SXM) to the ferry terminal.
  • If you want to arrive in style – bring your own yacht and slip in next to the rest of the gilded set.

Regardless of how you get there, St. Barth is unique in that while it is decidedly upscale, it also has a relaxed vibe. It does not attempt to put on airs, it’s simply a beautiful little island that has found its place with the rich and famous.

Gustavia View - John Di Rienzo

To give it a context, St. Barth is a like a little piece of the South of France or Monaco in the Caribbean. Its town is delightfully French, with cute shops, bistros and bars catering to all types, the kind of place where visiting billionaires and local sun-kissed beach bums share bar space. Sign us up!

Now all you need is a place to stay, thankfully Exotic Estates can help with a wide range of private St. Barth Villas!

by John Di Rienzo
Exotic Estates

Isak Heartstone - The Breckendridge Troll urn:uuid:c6364843-f0eb-3fe1-e3a2-2c2b2bd3b5fa 2018-11-12T19:02:27-07:00 Have you heard the BIG news? The charming ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado has quite the surprise for you. Just a short drive from downtown Main Street, near the East Wellington community, you will find a trail leading into the forest and those who are looking for a little adventure will have the opportunity to meet Isak Heartstone, the Troll. 

In the beginning of August 2018, the town of Breckenridge received a gift by Danish artist, Thomas Dambo. Thomas is an artist and designer who specializes in creating imaginative art pieces from recycled materials and who is renowned for installing giant trolls around the world. Each troll varies in shape and size, often capturing some aspect of the local culture around the world. While other trolls can be found in destinations such as Chicago, Denmark, and Korea--Isak Heartstone is the first troll installed in the Western United States.

Breckenridge, Colorado is well known for its world-class ski resorts and gorgeous Mountain views. Our Breckenridge Mountain Homes offer guests everything from ski-in-ski-out condos to large villas with ultimate privacy.  A family-friendly town full of natural beauty and charm, Breckenridge is our favorite option for winter getaways.

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and family-friendly adventure, head to the East Wellington Neighborhood--just minutes from Main Street, Breckenridge. Whether it’s sunny or the snow is falling, getting to the troll is a “green” hike and takes only about 10-15 minutes’ walk.

Insider’s Tip:

Although this is known to be an easy and quick hike, keep in mind altitude sickness can still be a major concern. Visitors may experience short of breath, nausea and extreme headaches due to Breckenridge’s high-altitude of 9,600 feet. It is best to be prepared by staying hydrated, pack essentials such as portable oxygen tanks, and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes to avoid any injuries.

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

When hiking this trail, please share the trail with others and keep an eye out of local bikers. If you see a biker approaching, step to the side until the biker has passed.

Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

If you happen to bring food or snacks with you, please hold onto it until you can properly discard into a designated trash bin and pick-up after your pets. All pets must be on a leash at all times.

Finding the Troll

Since the creation of Isak Heartstone the Troll, the East Wellington Hiking Trail has become a very popular destination for visitors and local residents, especially during the day. If you’re looking to visit Isak Heartstone and want to avoid the crowd, it’s best to plan by starting the hike early or late in the afternoon.

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

Easy access parking can be found near the Wellington Bike Park, head just a hundred feet up the dirt road from the parking lot and you will find where the hiking trail starts. From the start of the hike, it is just a ten-minute walk up to the troll. When you hear the soft whisper of the nearby stream, make a slight right and you will find Isak Heartstone!

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

Sitting approximately 15-feet tall, Isak Heartstone is made from scrap lumber and downed trees found along the trail during a ten-day process. Isak Heartstone the Troll sits quietly along the trail and continues to build Cairns as a guide to help hikers find their way back home.

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals

Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge Mountain Homes, Breckenridge Villas, Breckenridge Vacation Rentals


North Shore Hawaii Waves Turn On! urn:uuid:0d8e4d3a-4d52-6f23-6ac5-ea4ed3c0de5a 2018-10-03T19:40:34-07:00 Well, it’s not actually the heavy start, but as of today, October 3rd, beautiful waves are breaking on Oahu’s famous North Shore beaches. But what does that mean exactly, for us mortals who watch from the beach?

Oahu Seven Mile Miracle

The North Shore of Oahu is home to the famous Seven Mile Miracle, which refers to the seven-mile stretch of beaches composing the famous breaks of surfing lore: Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, to name a few.

Banzai Pipeline North Shore Oahu

If you would like to see live cams of the North Shore of Oahu and other breaks, check out Surfline. Here is a link to their Pipeline Surf Cam.

Even from this Oahu live cam, it’s easy to be captivated. These waves are big, sometime as big as 30 feet, and what makes them so cool is their proximity: they’re right there, just off shore, so spectators can sit on the sand and watch the surfers test their skill and courage as if sitting in an arena.

When these waves are breaking big, the ground can shake and their spray can cast a mist over the Kamehameha Highway that rings that shoreline. During the winter season, you’ll see the big surfwear company houses on the shore. 

When is Big Surf Season

The big surf season corresponds to the winter season in the North Hemisphere. The mountainous waves that hit Hawaii’s northern shores are generated thousands of miles away in the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific (same thing happens along the southern shores during the summer months, as winter storms rage in the South Pacific).

Interestingly, the inverse is true in the summer, with the north shores being generally calm and great for swimming.

Hawaii Surf Contests

There are several major contests that happen in Hawaii. The biggest and probably best-known is the Pipe Masters. This event is held at the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu in December.

Another big surf event on the North Shore is “the Eddie” named after iconic Hawaiian waterman Eddie Aikau. This big wave contest happens at Waimea Bay, where Eddie Aikau was a lifeguard. The contest only runs when the waves are big and that doesn’t happen often in Waimea. Regardless of surf contests, if Waimea Bay is breaking, try to see it as it has lots of lore. The contest did not run in the 2017-18, but may run this winter. If you are traveling to Oahu in the 2018-19 winter season, keep an eye on the surf report!

Check out the Waimea Bay live surf cam.

Winter Crowds in Hawaii

When the surf if big, expect crowds and traffic along the north shore, which has a small two-lane road called Kamehameha Highway that offers access to the beaches. Parking can be a challenge and be careful as the Counties are more than happy to earn some cash off your illegal parking job, your vacationer status gets no passes.

Other Hawaiian Islands

Oahu is not the only island in Hawaii with some famous North Shore surfing beaches. Perhaps one of the most famous spots is Peahi, commonly known as “Jaws,” on the North Shore of Maui. Laird Hamilton made a name at this spot.

Peahi Jaws Surf Maui

This spot allows for mammoth waves to rise up and break, testing the mettle of the world’s best surfers. However, unlike Oahu, Jaws breaks further out, meaning you watch from a promontory on the shore at some distance. Still, it’s impressive to behold.

There are spots on Kauai and other places as well, each with a swell window and bottom that makes its waves unique.

Winter Visitors to Hawaii

If you are going to Hawaii during the winter months, and there is a swell on, make some time to go out and view the spectacle. It’s a sight to behold and everyone, young and old alike, will always remember the day they saw the famous big waves of Hawaii.

Hawaii Rentals in Winter

You may not want to stay up on the north shores of the Hawaiian Islands during the winter months because it generally means that water will be off limits, unless you’re a pro surfer or body surfer. These waters can be treacherous for youngsters, with washup from waves capable of sweeping even sturdy adults off their feet. So, while this season makes for great viewing, it doesn’t make for carefree days at the beach with family.

Instead, considering staying along the southern shores and having access to the placid waters. The waters of Honolulu and Kailua are calm and welcoming. On Maui, the Lahaina and Wailea-side beaches are generally calm and welcoming as well. The same goes for Kauai.

Windward Oahu Beach - John Di Rienzo

Check out our winter luxury Hawaiian vacation villas todays.

Last Minute Hawaiian Holiday Homes! urn:uuid:74b6b863-59a1-79a3-9f1d-86073f0b4985 2018-10-02T14:21:04-07:00 Okay last-minute planners – there are a handful of homes in Hawaii still open on dates around the holidays. Hawaiian luxury vacation homes on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island are still available in Christmas and Holiday period.

The Big Island Holiday Openings

The Big Island is back in business, with the major reopening of the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The recent volcanic eruption has added new black-sand beaches that can be viewed in all their splendor at on a Paradise Helicopter tour.

But back to villas! Just because you’re a little late doesn’t mean you can’t go! You will need to be a little flexible on dates and locations, but there may still be a well-positioned luxury Big Island home or condo for your family!

Hualalai Hillside Villa

Here’s the Hualalai Hillside Villa. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is on the famous Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai on the Big Island.

Hualalai Hillside Villa

Hualalai Palm Villa

Another nice home available in the exclusive Big Island Hualalai Resort is the Palm Villa. This three-bedroom, three-bathroom home sleeps six and has nearly 2,900 sq. ft. This home is available from December 19th to December 25th.

Hualalai Palm Villa

Hualalai Hainoa Estate

For groups with larger families or groups, take a look at this four-bedroom home in Hualalai. Hualalai Hainoa Estate has a private infinity-edge pool and sleeps up to eight bedrooms. Enjoy fab golf-course and, in the distance, ocean-views.

Hualalai Hainoa Villa

Hualalai Pakui Hale

Our last Hualalai gem is a Hualalai Pakui Hale. This five-bedroom home is available for holiday stays and delivers vacation joy on many levels: gorgeous architecture, private pool, hot-tub, and accommodation for 10 guests! This home has got it all – make it yours for the holidays!

Hualalai Pakui Villa

Mauna Kea Mid Century Villa

Another great house on the Big Island, located on the grounds of the world-famous Mauna Kea resort. True to its name the Mauna Kea Mid-Century Villa channels a stylish mid-century design vibe and is built around a large backyard with a long swimming pool. There is even a comfortable Ohana or guest-house that is perfect for couples with small children or giving mom and dad their own private space. This home is available for stays through December 28th, 2018.

Mauna Kea Mid Century Villa

Christmas on Kauai!

Over on Kauai, the Garden Isle, things are as green and balmy as ever. Kauai is a favorite for those seeking a more laid-back vibe with classically Polynesian landscapes of jagged peaks and empty sandy beaches.

Hale Nene

Hale Nene is gorgeous three-bedroom home with private pool sitting on three acres of Kauai land. The home sleeps a max of four people and it’s open for the holidays!

Hale Nene Kauai

Anini Vista Drive Estate

Then there is absolutely stunning Anini Vista Drive Estate that sleeps up to 10 guests. Exotic Estates team used this home as a base on a recent inspection visit of our Kauai villas. This home has classic details, incredible stonework and one of the most amazing pools we have ever seen, replete with waterfalls, bridge and jacuzzi.

Anini Vista Drive Estates

Call on these amazing homes if you are still looking for a quality home to stay in during your Hawaiian holiday. Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka!

Popular Activities on Maui for Luxury Travelers urn:uuid:3b9a6dee-a40c-0847-ec85-538628eab1c8 2018-09-13T11:39:43-07:00 Golf on a World Class Gold Course

There are incredible golf courses on the Hawaiian island of Maui,  making golf the most popular luxury activity in all of Hawaii. On Maui, golfers have the best selection of golf resorts, golf instruction, and annual golf events to choose from. Top golf resorts include the PGA course at Kapalua Resort in West Maui, the kick-off course for the PGA Tour, the Wailea Golf Resort in South Maui, and the Four Seasons Resort’s Challenge at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele courses on Lana’i.

For guests seeking a fabulous vacation and wanting to practice their golf game, Maui offers golf instruction at all levels. There are grogeous views to be enjoyed at the Wailea Golf Resort consists of the Gold, Emerald and Blue courses. They Resort offers golfers a wide-array of services and amenities, and well-loved David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

For those staying further north near Lahaina, in West Maui, consider the Plantation and Bay courses up in Kapalua. It's about 20 minutes north of Lahaina. You can even get a pro lesson from PGA professionals at the Kapalua Golf Academy. The resort in Kapalua allows golfers of all abilities a chance to enhance their skills at a PGA course.

If you are in Maui in January you can check out the annual PGA Tour season-opening in Kapalua. Always held at the Kapalua Golf Resort, this is the premiere golf event in Hawaii. It's well-known for hosting the world's greatest golfers and winners from the previous PGA Tour season.

Maui Golf - Exotic Estates

Sailing on Maui

Guests on Maui are going to be drawn to the blue waters surrounding the island. The ocean here is a huge draw for many visitors, and the blue Pacific Ocean waters can be the ideal place to see humpback whales, green Hawaiian sea turtles, and playful spinner dolphins. Luxury travelers do it well, by chartering their own boats for journeys into Maui's great blue wilderness!

Sea Turtle Exotic Estates

When sailing on Maui, you can always count on seeing stunning Hawaiian sunsets, and 360-degree island views from the mountains to the coastlines of the outer islands of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. Journey through vibrantly colored reef formations, and relax with your family, friends and loved ones aboard a private chartered sailing vessel. Our Concierge can help pick the right boat for you.

Maui Sailboat - by John Di Rienzo - Exotic Estates

Sport Fishing on Maui

Sport fishing is a big attraction here in Hawaii. On Maui, there are serveral places where you can go out for a day on the water. Lahaina was after all built on whaling in the 19th century, and it remains an ideal spot for embarking on a whale-watching adventure. Our Exotic Estates Concierge can help with that for sure, as she knows who's who on the docks!

When sport fishing on Maui, the most popular large game fish caught are Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Black Marlin, Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, Kawakawa (Mackerel), Skipjack (Tuna), Mahi-Mahi (Dolphin Fish), Ono (Wahoo), and Spearfish.

Guests are not required to have a fishing license in the State of Hawaii to partake in Maui sport fishing, and some private charters will allow you to keep the fish you catch! The best private sport fishing charter on Maui is Start Me Up Fishing out of the Lahaina Harbor. They have the fastest and newest vessels, modern fishing equipment, and a professional staff full of the valuable insider’s perspective you’d like to have when game fishing on Maui.

Maui Spot Fishing Stock

Tennis on Maui

Enjoy spectacular Hawaiian weather, incredible island views, and perfect your tennis game while on vacation in Maui. Maui offers a host of tennis facilities and clubs throughout the island, all focused on specific demographics and learning levels. The best tennis clubs for visitors on Maui are the Kapalua Tennis Garden in West Maui, and the Wailea Tennis Club in South Maui. These two facilities are world-renowned for their newly remodeled facilities, the best tennis instructors on Maui, luxurious services and amenities, and their impeccably landscaped grounds.

For more information about booking the Best Luxury Activities on Maui, please contact

“Remember That Time…” urn:uuid:f1ef4301-30ce-5fdc-61a3-8db7853963b5 2018-09-05T17:59:51-07:00 A family that travels together gains new experiences, creates unforgettable memories and grows stronger bonds – even the battles that break out along the way somehow become part of the tapestry of connections and memories.

Being able to spend time together in a comfortable, home-like space is one of the reasons our guests come to us. Very often, they are just looking for a place to be themselves and enjoy something special together, whether it’s a week living life with an amazing ocean or Hawaiian view as a backdrop, an over-the-top backyard pool or just good ole easy beachfront living.

The homes that companies like Exotic Estates help you select and their location become your setting for future memories. Something happens when you are together in a new place and you enjoy new activities together. These are times that you will look back on years down the road with a smile and nostalgia. They are the building blocks of a life well lived and loved.

Here we’ve listed some of the best family-friendly activities in each destination, along with some of our favorite homes. Hopefully these will inspire some family travel planning!

The Hawaiian Islands

Every knows that Hawaii has been a top travel destination for family travel. From the Brady Bunch era to now, these fabulously remote tropical islands are easy to get to thanks to the many nonstop flights from the US Mainland and Canada.

They are a place where family and friends can experience a remarkable culture, the Islands’ welcoming Aloha Spirit, and beautiful scenery. Hawaii has a soul and its special vibe rubs off on all who visit.

Fun family activities in Hawaii include snorkeling to view Hawaii’s colorful coral reefs, ziplining through the lush tropical jungle, surfing and hiking to popular waterfalls.

Exotic Estates Snorkeling

There are also gorgeous views that leave you speechless, and even the youngest can enjoy and appreciated. And nobody will ever forget a family surfing lesson, a first encounter with a green sea turtle on a snorkeling trip or looking down at a live volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii from a private helicopter ride.

Exotic Estates - Helicopter Tour Big Island Hawaii

The islands offer natural wonders for all to enjoy, many of which are easily accessible and literally right outside your door.

Also, there has been a lot of coverage of natural disasters in Hawaii, specifically on the Big Island with the volcano eruption and Hurricane Lane.

To put these natural events in context, the volcano has impacted a very tiny portion of the island, in its southern-most tip, on the edge of Volcanoes National Park. This is a 10 square mile area in an island with over 4,000 sq. miles. Moreover, most Exotic Estates Big Island of Hawaii vacation villas are 100 miles away on the Kohala Coast. So, please bear this in mind. In fact, while our hearts go out to the neighborhood impacted by the new flows, the volcano remains an amazing natural sight to behold.

Hurricane Lane was, in a word, a dud. The hurricane did cause it to rain a great deal in Hilo, but it basically skipped the rest of the chain. In fact, there was so little rain on Maui on the day on the storm that there was a brush fire outside of Lahaina. Hawaii is our business, but we’re not going to make up stories and have our guests go there only to advise that they were sent to a disaster zone. Make no mistake, Hawaii is open for business as usual.

Hawaii Villas for Family Vacations

Luxury Hawaii vacation villas are what we do. We were born in Hawaii and we still have our Exotic Estates family on the ground to take good care of our guests. Each island offers something cool and interesting. Here’s a little guide for each of these exotic islands and what they offer.

Kauai, The Garden Isle, Comfortable Kauai Villas in a Sea of Green

If you’re searching for a quiet and lush, tropical escape, you will enjoy the beauty and wonders of Kauai. Compared with the other Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is known to be the wettest and is therefore incredibly green, hence the name Garden Isle.

Due to the island’s wet climate, the rain has eroded the towering peaks and created some of the most breathtaking views in the Islands —one being the Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and another the Na Pali Coast, where the 70’s remake of King Kong was filmed.

Exotic Estates Hawaii Helicopter

Kauai Villas for Family Fun

Our top luxury vacation rentals on Kauai are located on the Northeastern part of Kauai, where you will find enchanting mountains, gorgeous beaches, and green taro fields. Here are two of our favorite homes, which offer privacy and comfort for the whole family to enjoy, not to mention incredible views!

Anini Vista Drive Estate + Cottage – Kauai

Anini Vista Drive Estate and Cottage is a gorgeous resort-like Kauai vacation estate located on the North Shore of the island, sitting just above Anini Beach. This beautiful Estate offers five spacious bedrooms and five bathrooms, making Anini Vista Drive Estate the perfect vacation escape for a family of 10 guests!

Anini Vista Drive Estate - Kauai Villa Rentals

Dali Hale at Secret Beach – Kauai

Dali Hale is a seven-bedroom and seven-and-a-half bath luxury vacation villa located on Kauai, offering 6,000 square feet of comfortable living space for up to 12 guests! This gated, ocean-view villa is perched on the hillside and overlooks the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Northeastern coast of Kilauea.

Dali Hale Kauai Villa Rentals

Oahu, The Gathering Place – Home to Beautiful Oahu Villas

If you’re looking to experience a more traditionally urban and suburban vacation experience, you will enjoy a family vacation on the island of Oahu (also known as the Gathering Place).

The island of Oahu is and the most visited Hawaiian Island and the setting for many films. Just because it’s well populated doesn’t mean it doesn’t have stunning Polynesian vistas of towering green peaks running right up to the edge of the Blue Pacific. If you would like to experience quiet getaways within easy reach of fun city life, including restaurants, bars and cultural attractions, this island is for you!

On the family-friendly front, this island offers many historical sites, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument a Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace – the former home of the Hawaiian monarchy, and stunning Chinatown in downtown Honolulu. Honolulu’s vibrant downtown is just a short 20-minute drive from Waikiki Beach.

Waikiki Oahu by John Di Rienzo

Oahu Villas for Your Vacation

Here is one home that families have raved about on Oahu.

Hale Mokulua – Oahu

Hale Mokulua – Oahu, is great family vacation estate located near Lanikai Beach on Oahu. With a backyard pool, this home offers plenty of fun both inside and out. Plus, you are located near one of the best beaches in the world – Lanikai and Kailua Beach Park.

If you are looking for assistance with planning family-friendly activities for your stay on the Hawaiian Islands, we’ve got you covered! Our Hawaii Concierge can assist you with finding that perfect family-friendly activity so everyone can join the fun!

Hale Mokulua Oahu Villa Rental

Cabo San Lucas—Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is a great location for those seeking sunshine in during the drab winter months. In Cabo, you will have an array of fun activities, pristine sandy beaches, and delicious food—you can’t go wrong with spending a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas! It’s basically always sunny and the winter temps are divine. You can go on a family boat trip out to local snorkel spots, go to organic farms or just kick back and enjoy warm days by the pool. Also, the villas are sumptuous.

There has been a lot of talk about safety in Cabo, read more about the situation in our blog on Cabo safety. (insert url).

Our Cabo vacation villas are located in Cabo San Lucas, along the Resort Corridor and in San Jose del Cabo, each zone offering their own spectacular ocean views and the privacy.

Cabo Vacation Villas for Your Holiday

Cabo Skies Villa – Vacation Rental

The Cabo vacation villa is located in the Pedregal resort in Cabo San Lucas, offering complete privacy and ample living space for up to 22 guests. This Mexican villa is ideal for big gatherings and events. This luxury, ocean-view vacation home is the perfect place to experience the warmth and beauty of Mexico.

Cabo Skies Villa

Cabo Villa Las Rocas – Resort Style Vacation Rental

Cabo Villa Las Rocas is a spectacular vacation villa located on the beach in Los Cabos, along the Resort Corridor, between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. This beautiful vacation home rental captures the essence of Cabo, both indoors and out. With this villas ample living space and comfortable accommodations, this luxury vacation rental can accommodate up to 14 guests making this villa a perfect escape for family and friends!

Colorado – Rocky Mountain High

There are few states in the US that have such strong brands as Colorado. The name brings to mind incredible mountain peaks and dry powdery snow. The truth is that Colorado offers awesome natural experiences all year long. From the festivals of the summer season, to leaf peeping in the autumn and, of course, incredible alpine and Nordic skiing in the winter.

Family outdoor activities can include—Mountain biking, water rafting, hiking, hot air balloon rides, camping and more! Kids can enjoy fishing with the family, stand-up paddle boarding, and even hiking!  

If you love being outdoors and an adrenalin rush, Colorado is the place to be if you are yearning to be in touch with nature!

Colorado Vacation Homes – Breck to Telluride

Breck Balmoral Lodge - Breck Vacation Rental

This private six-bedroom ski home is located right on Snowflake Ski Run in the exclusive Westridge neighborhood. The mountain lodge sits on a forested landscape with dramatic views of Peak 8 and Baldy Mountain.

Breck Balmoral Lodge - Colorado Vacation Home

Snowy Perch Lodge

A seven-bedroom, 5-bath Steamboat retreat, Snowy Perch Lodge offers an unparalleled ski-in and ski-out access for the occupants. You can ski directly from your back door to the ski school and the Gondola, and return easily after the day is done.

The Caribbean – St. Martin, Dominican Republic and St. Barts

The Caribbean, the easiest way for folks east of the Mississippi to get some much-needed sun and sea during the dreary winter months. More and more airlines are adding nonstop flights from US cities to the Caribbean. This means that starting in 2019, the region is going to be a lot easier to reach.

What’s great about the Caribbean for families? You name it. Each Caribbean island offers something unique. However, we have wonderful villas to rent on most of them that offer a sense of home among the azure seas. There are all the many activities that can be enjoyed in a destination like Hawaii, including world-class snorkeling, diving and truly white sandy beaches.

However, for families, there is also the added benefit of cultural encounter, as many of the islands have French, Dutch or British heritage. This means that they are an opportunity for young children to experience their first trip “abroad.”

Caribbean Family Villas for Winter Vacation

Punta Cana - Caribe Infinity Villa

Easy to reach, Punta Cana is a great choice this year for those coming from Boston, New York and other East Coast cities. This beautiful villa is located in the exclusive gated community of Punta Cana Resort & Club, a 26-square mile paradise that is blessed with a temperate year-round climate, light rainfall, and soft breezes.

Punta Cana Luxury Villa

St. Barts - Painted Seas Villa

St. Barts (Saint Barthélemy) has a reputation as being one of the nicest and toniest Caribbean islands. This French island has stunning vistas and luxurious villas. Perched on a hillside, this private, five-bedroom, ocean-view villa is surrounded by dramatic views of Baie de St-Jean, Eden Rock, Nikki Beach, and the endless turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Painted Seas Villa - St. Barts

Safe to Put St Martin on Your Winter Travel List? urn:uuid:c0633d91-ac5e-a211-9d70-ff21a64228a8 2018-10-10T12:46:30-07:00 Safe to Put St Martin on Your Winter Travel List?

After storms, should you put Saint Martin and Sint Maarten on your winter travel list?

If you have been contemplating a Caribbean villa vacation, learn why St Martin is a charming island of contrasts offering unforgettable villa stays.

St. Martin Luxury Villa Rentals

Recovery from Storms

Last year, Hurricane Irma caused a great deal of damage to several islands in the Caribbean, including Saint Martin. One year on, the island and all beaches are open, with villas and other businesses eager and ready for the upcoming season.   

A recent article by Larry Olmsted in Forbes* says it well:

The bottom line is that not only is most of the Caribbean back in business, much of it is even better, some is all new, and while the region is not the perfect choice for everyone, if the reason you are not going is because you think it’s not ready for prime time, you are mistaken.

Saint Martin’s airport, beaches and homes will be ready for the upcoming season!

Saint Martin / Sint Maarten - The Island of Beautiful Contrasts

It is impossible to provide you with even a cursory summary of all that awaits you in the French-controlled and Dutch-controlled parts of this island. You will definitely find it a fascinating place to visit with two distinct areas. Yet, there are no formalities separating the two for visitors allowing them to freely experience both. It is one of the most unique places in the world to visit because of the unique contrasts that it presents.

Saint Martin View

Approximately two-million cruise ship visitors stop annually on this island this island that is part of the Leeward Islands chain. Another 500,000 stay overnight on this island as their sole stop on a holiday or as one of several stops on a Caribbean vacation.

Those visitors often experience the exciting shopping of Phillipsburg, the capital of Sint Maarten, where many boutiques invite luxury shoppers to come to explore a quintessential Dutch community of about 40,000 residents. Stroll by the 500 pastel-colored buildings in the commercial part of Phillipsburg, and you will find designer brand goods from around the globe. The town is also home to many casinos, global fast-food restaurants and a very active nightlife.

There is plenty to do in Phillipsburg. Shop until you drop for jewelry on Front Street. Test Lady Luck at the Royale Casino. Go on a culinary tour ending at the iconic Sunset Bar and Grill. Play on the Water UFO or just go for a quiet dip in the crystal-clear waters. Try to find the hidden treasure on the pirate's ship or just sunbathe on the beaches. You are sure to find something to interest everyone here regardless of their idea of what a Caribbean vacation looks like.

Phillipsburg Sint Maarten - Caribbean Villa Vacations

By contrast, Marigot is the capital city of St. Martin. Once you reach this city to the northwest of Phillipsburg, you will feel like you have traveled to a whole different country - because you have! Gone are the Dutch street signs and the pastel-colored buildings. Instead, you find French words on street signs and sidewalk cafes. In fact, you may feel like you have left the island and been magically transported to the south of France with a little West Indian charm added to the mix!

Be sure to sample the unique blend of French, Cajun and Creole food found at many locations around the city. Shop in the ‘le West Indies Shopping Mall where you will find many unique bargains from top name designers around the globe and wander through the quaint little side alleys where you will find a variety of hometown merchants.

Make sure to visit the Marigot market where many local artists sell their wares. This market is also a fun place be introduced to the fusion of West Indian and French food served in this town of about 6,000 people. The best time to visit the market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays where you will see a variety of spices being sold along with psychedelic-colored guava berry.

Luxury Saint Martin lifestyles revolve around the island’s beautiful beaches. There are plenty of water sports for everyone to participate in including deep sea fishing for marlin, wahoo and dolphin. Northern swells can even make it a spot to go surfing.

Saint Martin Caribbean Luxury Vacation

There are plenty of places to rent a kayak for fun on the water while paddling through a mangrove forest and watching breathtaking sunsets. Those who are looking for even more adventure can try kitesurfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and parasailing.

There are 45 different world-class dive spots including Pelican Key, Friars Bay and Dawn Beach. Snorkelers enjoy exploring Pinel Island with its snorkeling trail filled with gorgeous coral reefs and a myriad of fish that divers can identify by reading the underground information cards.

Another interesting contrast found on this dual-country island is the coast versus the rolling hills and the salt ponds. Besides the beautiful marina next to Marigot, visitors find over 30 beaches to play on. While clothes are required at most of them, there are places where travelers can sport a more “natural” attire.

Many enjoy visiting white sandy beaches of Mullet Bay on the island's southwest coastline with its nearby casino and golf course while others prefer to visit Tintamarre Island on the French side of the island with its beautiful nature preserve. It is easy to rent a sailboat whether you want to sail it yourself or hire a captain.

Other visitors choose to forego the Caribbean beach villa experience to enjoy the quiet beauty of this island's gently rolling pasturelands filled with cattle and horses. The highest peak on the island is Pic Paradis at an elevation of 1,390 feet. There are numerous hikes that can be taken from here across the ridges or choose to visit the former sugar plantation to get a better understanding of the island's amazing history.

While the blue Caribbean Sea is a natural draw, there is plenty to do on land. Children will adore taking a pony ride and visiting the St. Marin’s butterfly farm. Adults can challenge their friends to a friendly round of golf, go paragliding or skydiving.

One fun activity for adults is to go on the 14-seat pub crawl where you ride along to the different stops all on one bicycle. Climb on board a helicopter for a unique aerial view of the island. Of course, staying in an Exotic Estates’ Saint Martin Caribbean villa is so nice you may never want to leave your accommodations.

One of the island's most unique ecosystems is its salt ponds where the Dutch harvested salt for more than 300 years. While salt harvesting has ended, the Great Salt Pond, which is surrounded by Phillipsburg, the capital of Sint Maarten, is a popular resting spot for many migratory birds including brown pelicans and black-necked stilts during the winter months, and terns and gulls enjoy the area during the summer months.

Another interesting contrast is visiting the British island of Anguilla. While not part of St Martin and Sint Maarten, it is located nearby and is easily reachable by ferry. Do not be surprised if you see celebrities on this island that has very exclusive resort communities.

When you visit, this dual-country island of Saint Martin, consider staying in an Exotic Estates Saint Martin Villa. You will find Saint Martin Villa Rentals located near all the popular beaches on the French side of this island.

St. Martin Luxury Villa Caribbean

Luxury Saint Martin villas are a great place to relax while visiting either side of this magical island!


*Forbes, Sept 2, 2018;

Visit Four Movie Sites on Oahu urn:uuid:288fad8c-569c-03b6-3617-4d7fb0129f1c 2018-07-17T21:18:40-07:00 Many blockbuster movies were filmed in Hawaii, from Jurasic Park to Indiana Jones. Here in the Aloha state, film makers can shoot scenes that are set in everything from cities to South American rainforests. Of course, Hawaii often stars alongside the cast members, meaning the Hawaiian Islands are not only a paradise for visitors, but for filmmakers as well!

Here’s the three famous movies filmed on the island of Oahu, by far the most visited and the most accessible of all the islands due to the many nonstop flights to the Mainland:

Blue Crush – Released in 2002

The Plot: the story is inspiring sports fantasy staring a local surfer named Annie Marie. Since she was a little girl, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) always imagined herself growing up to be a professional surfer, but the memory of her past surfing accident haunts her. With the help of her supportive best friends and rebellious younger sister, she is able to overcome her fear of surfing enough to enter the world-famous Pipe Masters surfing competition.

Blue Crush was filmed at multiple locations on Oahu. Most of the scenes were taken at the famous North Shore (Pipeline) and Makaha.

North Shore Oahu: Surf scenes: the awesome action-packed surf scenes were shot on North Shore, with much of big-wave action shot at the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach Park). This beach is not recommended for swimming generally, though in the summer months the water can be quite placid, as the swell activity is found along the south shore.

North Shore Oahu - Exotic Estates

However, starting in the fall and throughout the winter months, the ocean currents and waves in this area are extremely powerful, i.e. dangerous! But waves break close to shore, so visitors can spectate from the shoreline and enjoy the hard-core surfers battle the waves.

PIPELINE: is located on Kamehameha Highway, set your map to Ehukai Beach Park.

50 First Dates – Released in 2004

The Plot: Henry Roth is a young veterinarian, working at Sea Life Park on Oahu. He is a bachelor and a ladies-man. His goal is to finish building his boat and sail to Alaska. During a test run around the island, Henry’s boat breaks down. While waiting for the coast guard, he decides to head to the Hukilau Café where he meets Lucy, a beautiful free-spirited young woman who is suffering from short-term memory loss. The two ultimately marry and sail away to Alaska.

This famous movie was filmed on the island of Oahu. Most of the scenes can be found in Kaneohe, Kaaawa, Wahiawa, Makapuu, Kaneohe Bay and Waimanalo.

Waimanalo: Sea Life Park is a marine mammal park, bird sanctuary and aquarium. The park is well known as a refugee for injured sea mammals. It is located in Waimanalo, on Oahu’s eastern or Windward shoreline. While some scenes were filmed at the Sea Life Park, other scenes were filmed in North California. Both the walrus and shark tunnel scenes were filmed at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California.

Waimanalo Beach Oahu - John Di Rienzo

Kaneohe: The scene of Henry’s boat and Ula’s children jumping into the water was filmed at Heeia Kea Harbor, located in Kaneohe.

The Hukilau Café’: There is a Hukilau Café on the island, however it is not where they shot the restaurant scenes. Stop in for a quick bite of Hawaiian comfort food though, as this real small family-owned restaurant is located along the northwestern shores, very near the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Released in 2008

Peter (Jason Segel) a likable music composer, was devastated after ending his five-year relationship with his famous girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). To help him get through the breakup, he heads to Hawaii to keep himself distracted. While checking himself into a resort on Oahu, he coincidently bumps into his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Peter begins to break down once again, but this time he is rescued by Rachel, a kind and beautiful front desk island girl (Mila Kunis).

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Locations:

Some of the scenes from this Forgetting Sarah Marshall were filmed in North Shore, on the island of Oahu.

North Shore Oahu: To film this movie, it took little over 30 days and most of the filming took place at Turtle Bay Resort, up on the North Shore.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was not the only movie filmed at Turtle Bay Resort. Other memorable movies that took place at this resort were Warner Bro’s Big Bounce, North Shore, The Bachelor, and Las Vegas were also filmed at this beautiful resort.

Head to Laie Point to view the beautiful coastline, where Peter leaped off into the Pacific Ocean!

While many of these areas are open to the public, always be cautious of your surroundings and watch your step. Always keep out for posted warning signs and do not enter if on private property to avoid disturbing the natives that may live in the area.

Jurassic Park - Relased in 1993

Jurassic Park was filmed in 1993 and is still a popular franchise. We all know the plot, dinosaurs come back to life through genetic engineering wreak havoc on their island zoo. The movie was filmed in multiple locations, including Hawaii. In Hawaii, the islands of Kauai and Oahu were the locations of major scenes.

On Oahu, guests young and old alike can visit the locations of the famous scene where the scientists and smaller dinosaurs were running from the massive T-Rex.

Oahu Kualoa Ranch - John Di Rienzo

Kualoa Ranch is located on the Windward Coast of Oahu, and it’s turned itself into quite a tourist destination, with ziplining, ATV rides, and other tours. It is a beautiful location and you’ll be able to get into the landscape, even if it feels a bit touristy!


So How Much Do Helicopter Tours Cost? urn:uuid:7684fbb9-9ed0-206e-65aa-79c8f7407f74 2018-07-13T10:56:05-07:00 During your stay on the Islands, we encourage you to take in the incredible scenery of Hawaii from a birds-eye perspective with a Helicopter Tour!

Capture the best views of the gorgeous Hawaiian Islands with our amazing friends at Paradise Helicopters. This one-of-a-kind helicopter tour company provides unique and exciting tours, putting safety and customer service first so that you and your family can create life-long memories.

Helicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

When you book a Paradise Helicopter tour with Exotic Estates, you will choose from a variety of adventures where you can get up-close to the lava flows of the Big Island, embark on a rainforest adventure, circle the dramatic coastlines of the each island, or buzz through the valleys and explore  towering waterfalls.

Although this experience is a bit on the pricier side, we can guarantee you will not be disappointed with your adventure. Prices for these tours vary depending on the package you select and whether you are looking for a calming sunset tour or for a "doors-off" adventure. Paradise Helicopters has something for everyone!

Our Favorite Tours:

Valleys & Waterfall Explorer – Turtle Bay, Oahu

Helicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

Discover the best view of Oahu’s Kaliuwa’a (Sacred Falls) and Ko’olau Mountains on this special helicopter expedition. These two well-known areas are either closed off completely due to dangerous conditions or inaccessible by car, making this a one-of-a-kind tour to experience from above.

In addition to the waterfalls, you will also have the opportunity to fly over Pearl Harbor, Kane’ohe Bay and the well-known North Shore surf breaks, where visitors from all over the world come to watch the professional surfers take on the massive waves that hit Oahu during the winter.

Rate: $269 per person

Duration: 40 Minutes

Departs: Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu

Sights: Kaliuwa’a (Sacred Falls), Ko’olau Mountains, Kaneohe Bay, Famous North Shore surf breaks, and Pearl Harbor.

Sunset Spectacular– Turtle Bay, Oahu

Soar through the sky during Oahu’s “golden hour” and soak in the spectacular views of a North Shore Sunset. This tour is great for those looking for a romantic excursion. During this tour, you will get to experience how different lighting can bring out the island’s beauty, creating a more dramatic look to Oahu’s North Shore and Ko’olau Mountains.

Rate: $289 per person

Duration: 30 minutes

Departs: Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu

Sights: Narrated tour and Beach views

Doors-off Lava & Rainforests Adventure – Hilo, Big Island

Helicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

The Travel Channel was not kidding when they said, “Feel the Heat!” after this exciting tour. During this excursion, you will get to experience a doors-off Helicopter Tour to view both Kilauea Volcano and Mauna Loa Summit on the Big Island of Hawaii. This journey is known to be the hottest tour of them all, offering top-notch views of the active lava flows and open lava vents with temperatures that can reach up to 2,000 degrees. Leave those doors behind and get ready to experience unobstructed views of the Big Island’s greatest treasure!

Rate: $324 per person

Duration: 45 Minutes

Departs: Hilo Airport

Sights: Current activity at Kilauea Volcano, Waterfalls of North Hilo, Tropical Rainforests of Puna, Beach

Tours for Adventure Seakers:

Lava Adventure & Waterfall Swim – Hilo, Big IslandHelicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

Fly over Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth and soak in the lush surroundings of Hawaii’s tropical rainforest. This tour takes you on a journey to view the volcano and Big Island’s tropical rainforest—all on the same day! After your flight, experience a guided ground exploration with private access to three of Hilo’s most beautiful waterfalls, where you can swim or kayak near a 120-foot private waterfall.

Rate: $497 per person

Duration: 3 hours 10 minutes

Departs: Hilo Airport, Big Island

Sights: Current Activity at Kilauea Volcano, Tropical Rainforests of Puna, Waterfalls of North Hilo, Exclusive access to a 1,000 acre Tropical Fruit Farm, Sample seasonal fruit and fresh macadamia nuts at a private gazebo overlooking the world-famous Rainbow Falls, Enjoy a locally made lunch, Swim, Kayak, and/or Paddle under a 120-foot private waterfall.

Air Zip & Dip Adventure – Kona, Big Island

Helicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

This amazing excursion combines two great adventures into one awesome trip. On this tour, you can soar over three of Hawai’i’s towering volcanoes and zip through the trees in the gorgeous North Kohala on the thrilling zip line canopy tour. After completing the helicopter tour and zip line adventure, you will get to enjoy some time at the historic town of Hawi to browse shops and enjoy some lunch before heading back to the airport.

Rate: $874 per person

Duration: 6 hours

Departs: Kona Airport, Big Island

Sights: Visit Kona’s famous coffee district, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hunt for red hot lava around Kilauea, Rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches, Zipline adventure, Tour the Rainforest, and visit Pastoral Fields and Ranches.

Volcano by Air & Land – Kona, Big Island

Helicopter Tours, Hawaii, Exotic Estates

During this incredible expedition, you will get the opportunity to explore the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park area in flight and on foot—including sinking your toes into the unique black sandy shores and enjoying a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop.

Rate: $779 per person

Duration: 11 hours

Departs: Kona Airport, Big Island

Features: Hike, Food, Coffee, Landing

Sights: Hualalai, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa & Kilauea Volcanoes by air, Experience a Black Sand Beach, Local Ranch & Farm Visit, Native Hawaiian Rainforest Stroll, Private Gazebo View of Rainbow Falls, Kohala Valleys & Waterfalls by air.

Off-Island Tours

Circle Island Experience – Lanai

On this excursion, you will get to fly around the entire island of Lanai.  During this thirty-minute air tour, you will get the opportunity to learn about the history and beauty of Lanai, as well as gain a better understanding of Hawaiian culture. As you soar through the air, you will see Manele Bay, Kanepu’u dryland forests preserve, Keahiakawelo (the “Garden of the Gods”) and Polihua.

Rate: $1,345 per person

Duration: 30 minutes

Departs: Lanai Airport

Sights: Rugged Western Coastline, Secluded White Sand Beaches, Fascinating Reefs, Lanai’s Beautiful Northeastern Coast, and Ship Wrecks just off Lanai’s coast.


For more information on booking a tour with Paradise Helicopters contact your Villa Specialist at 888-628-4896. 

Can You Sunbathe Nude on Hawaii Beaches? urn:uuid:54c1d7bc-c155-f780-f67e-c7d69a5349d5 2018-06-13T22:00:13-07:00 Visitors from the U.S. Mainland or other countries have asked, “are there official nude sunbathing beaches in Hawaii?” the unfortunate answer is “No,” there are no beaches where nudity is officially allowed.

Topless Permitted - Nude, well...

Although nudity is not legally allowed on Hawaii state beaches, Mayor Alan Arakawa of Maui is quoted in Maui News* as saying, “sunbathing topless is permissible by Hawaii law”—YES, you heard that right! There are no laws prohibitting topless sunbathing in Hawaii, therefore it is not considered a criminal offense if you are found sunbathing without a top. In Hawaii, there are laws against indecent exposure and lewdness, but the law does not apply to topless sunbathing.

Kailua Beach Oahu - Exotic Estates

The Hawaii state obscenity code may ban nude sunbathing on all Hawaii state beaches, but that does not stop locals and visitors from getting a line-free tan while in the Aloha State. There are plenty of quiet spots in the Hawaiian Islands, i.e. non-state beaches, where residents and travelers can go to enjoy time under the sun in just their birthday suit!

Kauai Na Pali Coast - Exotic Estates

According to our research, there was a big case in 2000 (HI. v. Milford and HI v. Kalama**) that said, if someone is simply sunbathing in the nude on a remote beach (non-state park obviously), and they are not intentionally trying to alarm or afront (e.g. freak people out) by exposing themselves, then they are doing nothing illegal by Hawaii law. 

So, put simply, just laying out nude on a remote Hawaiian beach, is arguably legal and allowed. But what bothers us, the rub if you will, are the words “intention to alarm" and affront.

Bottom line, if you simply have to get that full-body Hawaiian tan, pick more remote, non-state park beaches where you are less likely to encounter or “alarm” casual beachgoers. Then, your intension will never be called into question!

‘Unofficial Clothing-Optional’ Beaches in Hawaii

WARNING: We are going to preface this by advising that Exotic Estates does not officially recommend nude sunbathing on these beaches. However, we looked around, and, if you must, the beaches below are known unofficially as beaches where nudity is more or less tolerated. Strip at your own risk!

Little Beach—Maui

Little Beach is a quiet ‘unofficial clothing-optional’ spot located on Makena Beach, just south of Wailea. The beach is tucked on the edge of the coast, protected by lush rolling hills that trail along the beach for added privacy.

Secret Beach (Kauapea)—Kauai

This beach is known as Kauapea, but many locals also call this beach “Secret Beach” due to amount of privacy in the area, beautiful scenery, and its hidden location. Kauapea Beach is tucked between Kalihiwai Bay and Kilauea Point, located on the north shore of Kauai. In order to get to the beach, you must take an unmarked trail down the hill to reach the 3,000 ft.-long sandy shoreline. The ‘unofficial clothing-optional’ area is located further down the beach.

Kahena Beach—Big Island

Head to the beautiful black sand beach, also known as “Dolphin Beach”, located on the east coast of the Big Island. This ‘unofficial clothing-optional’ beach spot is tucked in between the trees and the coastline, offering the privacy to enjoy a naturist afternoon!

Kahuku Beach—Oahu

Tucked along-side Route 83 and Oahu’s northeast coastal line, you will find Kahuku Beach, one of the ‘unofficial clothing-optional’ beaches on Oahu. While the crowds set up camp at Polo Beach, you can take the road less traveled and escape to the lesser-known Kahuku Beach!

Families Beware

Those of you traveling with children please be advised, you may run into nude or topless sunbathers if you venture out into less developed areas. If you would like to avoid these encounters while spending a day with your family, it is best to stay near busy beaches and avoid those with less foot traffic. This is also a good idea from a safety perspective, as the larger, more-trafficked beaches will have more lifeguards on duty.

Hawaiian Vacation Villas Perfect for Nude Sunbathing

While there are many hidden spots on the islands, the best spot for nude sunbathing is, of course— at your own private Hawaiian Vacation Home!

Whether you are looking for a quiet place on the beach or a hilltop villa with incredible ocean views, our Exotic Estates vacation specialists can help you find a Hawaiian vacation home that offers privacy and fabulous outdoor amenities!

Here are a few that offer total privacy and fabulous pools.

Anini Vista Drive Estate

Kauai Villa - Luxury Rental - Exotic Estates

This villa has one of the most amazing pools we have ever seen. It’s a massive 90,000-gallon salt-water pool that comes with waterfalls, bridge and natural landscaping. There is even an outdoor shower area that has a wall of orchids that blooms at certain times of the year. Even if you are not usually into hanging around in the buff, this incredible Kauai villa sort of makes you feel like taking it all off and communing with nature in a sumptuous and private setting.

Clothed or not, this Kauai Vacation Home is an amazing place for a stay with friends and can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Maui Royal Shores Villa

Maui Villa - Maui Luxury Rentals - Exotic Estates

This elegant, gated Maui villa offers lots of privacy and an amazing 75 ft.-long pool. The home and its courtyard area frame the pool, so anyone interested in a skinny dip has nothing to fear. While the home is beachfront, it’s not a highly trafficked spot, so the backyard along the ocean also feels quite private.

This relatively new Maui villa harks back to a traditional old New England, pre-war home in feel. It’s very nostalgic and welcoming, while being grand at the same time.

Privacy hounds – this is a good one that is within easy reach of Lahaina and Kaanapali.

Big Island Champion Vacation Rental

Big Island Champion Vacation Rental - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Here we have a Big Island villa that offers a great deal of privacy. The home is built in a sort of horseshoe fashion, with the yard, pool and BBQ area totally hidden from public view. Guests are free to swim, bbq and relax in this private space as they please. The rooms in this home have their own entrances onto the pool area, so it’s ideal for sharing with friends.

This Big Island villa accommodates 10 and is located in Mauna Lani, one of the best resort areas on the island, situated on the Kohala Coast between Waikoloa and Mauna Kea Resorts.

Paul Mitchell Villa at Lanikai

Paul Mitchel Estate Oahu - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

This spectacular Oahu villa is located on the golden sands of Lanikai Beach. The home is a gated commune, built by the famous stylist Paul Mitchell. It's a truly stunning property that affords guests absolute privacy in the inner courtyards, pool and lawn areas. The home is inspired by classic Hawaiian design and culture, with warm woods, exotic fish ponds and an opulent pool area that boasts a fabulous wateffall and landscaping. 

The home accommodates 14 guests in total style and would be ideal for groups who enjoy taking it all off by the pool!

Email our Hawaii Villa Specialists to learn about these and other villas that may be well-suited to your vacation style! You also call 888-628-4896 to speak with an agent live.

* - Ask the Mayor: Can Women Go Topless at the Beach? February 20, 2017

Is Cabo Safe for Travelers? urn:uuid:f7f625d2-554a-0e6e-b58f-09d0898aabc5 2018-06-14T15:52:29-07:00 Los Cabos Takes Control of Its Story

Los Cabos, the beautiful resort area at the tip of the 1,000-mile long Baja Peninsula, has been a favorite destination for Americans, and for Exotic Estates, for decades. But, in the past year, the area has received negative press as part of the ongoing coverage of violence in Mexico.

Back in August 2017, in a confirmation of growing security concerns in Los Cabos, the U.S. State Department added the tourist mecca to its travel warning list and travelers understandably panicked.

However, in the past year a lot of things have changed. Cabo has taken back control of its streets, beaches and story in several meaningful ways.

Here at Exotic Estates we regularly speak with would-be Cabo visitors who ask us about the “situation.” So, we have asked a part-time U.S. resident and Cabo villa owner,  an Exotic Estates Mexico Destination Specialist, and the Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board about what has been done to address visitor concerns.

Let's Remember Why We Love Cabo

First, let’s review why we all love Cabo so much. When we say Cabo, we are speaking not just about Cabo San Lucas, but Los Cabos generally.

Los Cabos comprises the resort areas of Cabo San Lucas, the Resort Corridor (the coastline between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas), and San Jose del Cabo. Each locale boasts miles of gorgeous beaches, a laid-back night life and even an arts scene.

Cabo San Lucas - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Besides it being a relatively short flight from many US cities, Cabo offers a dramatic desert backdrop softened by the coastlines of the blue Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. It is also one of the sunniest places in the North America, a welcome reprieve for many winter-weary US and Canadian travelers.  Moreover, the area is home to award-winning golf courses, wonderful culinary traditions and truly some of the world's most beautiful beaches.

For the visitor, it also boasts a modern infrastructure, with well-paved roads, a shiny new airport, and plenty of shops and restaurants catering to visitor needs, including Costco for those guests staying in a Cabo vacation villa. 

Cabo San Lucas Pamilla - Exotic Estates - by John Di RIenzo

So, what happened in Cabo?

When "Safety" Became a Concern

It's no secret that there are drug cartels fighting for turf in several regions of Mexico. Cabo, largely unscathed by the early crime stories plaguing northern border towns and tourist areas like Acapulco, began to see some cartel-related violence in 2017.  In response, in August 2017, the State Department issued a travel warning for Cabo.

The violence in Cabo was not directed at tourists or average residents. What took place happened between crime groups. Nonetheless, there were a few hi-profile incidents that took place near the tourist areas, and this spooked travelers and alarmed residents.

The State Department move coupled with high-profile news stories understandably caused trepidation among would-be tourists, and many people changed their plans. Reports of gang-related violence in other regions of Mexico filled the news cycle, so it was easy for Cabo to get tainted by gruesome stories coming out of Acapulco and other now notorious cities.

But that was then, and this is now; in January 2018, the State Department removed their travel warning and today Cabo has a Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution rating, which is the same as most of Western Europe.

To put the current State Department rating in perspective, here are other countries with the same advisory:

  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • England/UK
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy

Certainly, there are states and cities in Mexico that are still experiencing regular violence and have a Reconsider Travel designation. However, Cabo is NOT one of them, and this is due to the significant efforts made by a public and private coalition to improve the safety in the region.

A Government & Business Partnership Addresses Concerns

Local Government Investment in Security

Why is Cabo different than Acapulco and even Cancun? Put simply, it is in the local and national governments' interest to keep Cabo safe and secure, and that is what has happened over the past year. 

Cabo San Lucas Airport - Exotic Estates - John Di Rienzo

Los Cabos has a tourism-driven economy, welcoming more than 2.5 million people each year. Nearly all its residents rely on tourist dollars to survive. Moreover, Cabo has seen huge investments by large hotel chains and villa developers. For this reason, there is a massive economic interest in keeping the area safe to maintain the traveler flow.

When the alerts went out in August, the regional government went into high gear to put security measures in place that would help address concerns, recharge tourism and protect the essential revenue flow.

Cabo San Lucas Harbor - Exotic Estates - John Di Rienzo

We asked Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, about what Los Cabos has done to reassure visitors that the area is a safe place to vacation. 

He sent us information detailing what has been done organizationally and what the results have been. 

According to the information we received, the regional government and businesses have spent nearly $50 million to enhance the area's security-related infrastructure on several fronts.

A five-point security action plan was put in place, which resulted in a massive influx of security personnel and an installation of cameras across the area. The Mexican Federal Government also put the Mexican “Marines” in command of the state and municipal police in Los Cabos in November 2017.  As a result of their cumulative efforts and unified front, Los Cabos has seen a 90% reduction in security-associated events since last year.

Those considering travel to the area should know that Los Cabos is thriving and the Los Cabos Tourism Board reports that visitor numbers are up 17% from previous year.

Cabo San Lucas Sunrise - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

What Do US Residents and Villa Owners Say

To get a different perspective on the situation, we also reached out to one of our trusted owners, who lives part-time in Los Cabos. He is well-connected in the area and spends a lot of time at his amazing Cabo villa. When we asked his opinion on the state of security in Cabo, he gave us this insider’s response:

Los Cabos Casa Blanca - Exotic Estates

"Regarding the violence in Los Cabos, the cartel "war" is 100% over; and BIG news...the U.S. State Department lifted the travel advisory in January that they had initiated last August, as the Mexican government was effective in securing the tourist zone with the Mexican Army, Navy (like the U.S. Marines), and Federal Police. Business has taken off again for everyone in Cabo"

He then added this little tidbit...

“I confirmed with my good friend who owns on of the biggest security companies in Cabo that the Mexican government brought in 8,000 more police and forced a truce between the two cartels. So as a result, everything went 100% quiet immediately."

It sounds like the Mexican government not only put security measures in place, but also defused tensions.

Exotic Estates Mexico Destination Leader

Here at Exotic Estates, our team of Villa Specialists is brought to each destination to tour our homes and get to know the area – basically to do all the things that our guests might want to do so that they can provide valued insights on travel planning.

Cabo San Lucas Team Trip - Exotic Estates - John Di Rienzo

However, we have Destination Leaders who either live in or have lived in one of our core market. For Cabo, we have Danielle, who lived there for many years and who now is a part-time Mexico City resident.

Danielle Mexico Destination Expert - Exotic Estates - by Danielle Kehl

When we asked for her thoughts on Cabo and all the negative new coverage, she said that she didn't feel threatened by the violence being reported.

“I just spoke to a guest about this today. I feel completely safe in Mexico.  When I lived in Los Cabos, I actually left my door unlocked. The recent events in Cabo were amplified in the news, and were not in any way targeted towards of the local or tourists there.”

So, Is Cabo Safe?

In many ways, Cabo is probably safer than ever, because there is so much focus on the issue from government and private-sector interests.

There are currently no travel restrictions. As covered earlier, the U.S. government recommends that travelers employ the same level of caution as they would in the most popular tourist destinations of Western Europe.

If one decides to visit a city or region, one doesn't typically hang out in areas plagued by drug and gang activity.  For example, people will visit New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Chicago, all the time, even though the reports of violent crime taking place in those metro areas can be extreme. That's because, as in Cabo, folks know - generally speaking - that the violence is not targeting tourists; touirists tend to stay in generally safe, well-policed tourist-friendly areas and enjoy classic hot-spots.

Cabo San Lucas Sport Fishing - Exotic Estates - John Di Rienzo

Whenever and wherever we travel, there are  risks. However, Cabo has done a lot to ensure that visitors and residents alike feel safe.


U.S. State Department Travel Advisories and General Travel Precautions

No matter where you are traveling this year, from Hawaii and Cabo to Paris or Rome, here are common travel tips that everyone can review to help ensure a safe and crime-free vacation:

  • Do not flash expensive jewelry or cash in public.
  • Be attentive when visiting an ATM
  • Exercise caution at nightclubs and bars - do not leave drinks unattended.
  • Stay up to date on the State Department's Crime and Safety Reports for all destinations
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which sends travel alerts and helps to locate you in case of an emergency.

If you are thinking about villa vacation in Los Cabos and would like to have more information, call or email one of our dedicated Villa Specialists for expert planning assistance:

Written in June 2018 by Exotic Estates team members. Contributions from:

Los Cabos Tourism Board
Private Owner in Los Cabos
Exotic Estates Mexico Destination Leader

"Doors Off” Volcano Helicopter Tours on the Big Island urn:uuid:e6492409-4016-b944-5a42-1a00d0e181ef 2018-06-07T16:15:26-07:00 The Ultimate Hawaii Helicopter Tour

I had the opportunity to fly over to Hilo on the Big Island on Saturday and enjoy a “doors off” helicopter flight with Paradise Helicopters.  Helicopter tours are the best way to view Madame Pele’s island-building activity.

A Community United

To begin, our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost their homes or businesses to the lava flow. However, it’s important that visitors understand that the actual area impacted by the recent activity is tiny – 10 sq. miles on the southeast tip of the island; for a perspective, the Big Island is more than 4,000 sq. miles and all the sunny resorts and villas on the Kona Coast are 100+ miles away.

The Big Island community is unified and raising money to provide services to all of those affected by the eruption. If you would like to learn about local causes, visit this page.

Thrilling Ride and Commanding Views

I have been on many helicopter flights, but this was a first “doors off” experience for me. I was in the front of the copter, in what they call the “co-pilot seat” and it was just a sheer drop from me to the ground!

Helicopter Tours Big Island Hawaii - by Sarah Mater

As we got higher, it got more beautiful. It was a little scary at first, but there is a handle toward the top of the helicopter and, to be honest, I was holding on to it for dear life. For some folks, this is part of the thrill, but I let my friend know that she would need to take most of the photos as there was no way I was letting go!

The sights we saw were incredible - I have a newfound respect for the professional photographers who hang outside of helicopters and snap away!  Fissure 8, one of the new volcanic vents, is still bubbling and shooting lava into the air. From the helicopter, you can clearly see the bright red rivers of lava and the fires below.  

Fissure 8 Big Island Hawaii - by Sarah Mater
There is a Geo Thermal plant that was threatened by the flow. For whatever reason, Madame Pele has opted to spare the plant. From the sky, you can see the lava moving on all three sides of the facility, but sparing the plant itself. I guess Pele has her reasons!

Dressing for the Flight

During the flight, we wore long pants and jackets as it was chilly up there. We had trade winds that day and were not bothered by any vog (volcanic smog) or CO2 while flying.

Lunch in Hilo Town

After the flight, we went into Hilo Town, and had lunch at a favorite spot - Café Pesto (such good food!). The spirit in Hilo was vibrant and if you didn’t know about the lava flow, you wouldn’t have guessed that anything was wrong – there were no noticeable effects at all in town.

Local folks in Hilo have told me that other than the seeing the reddish glow of the lava in the distance late at night or early in the morning, they really don’t notice any impact at all.

Conducting Business as Usual

There are such friendly people on the Big Island and all the local tour operators that we work with are conducting business as usual. There was no vog, ash or CO2 in town. There were, however, excellent martinis that were much enjoyed after my flight!

Martinis Hilo Big Island Hawaii - by Sarah Mater

Guest Story

We currently have guests staying on the Big Island with family members who are sensitive to pollutants (this is true). Understandably they were worried about their visit having seen the news reports.  They came and even with all the activity, they have not had any issues with the air quality. They are loving their vacation home, excursions and their overall experience.

This is sounding salesy, but the reason we're driving this home is that if you just watch the news you would think lava was covering the whole island of Hawaii and threatening the entire chain! The folks that host visitors on the Big Island, including us of course, want visitors to know that the Big Island is still welcoming guests...and putting on a show. 

Big Island of Hawaii - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Safe Sightseeing

If you are thinking about traveling to the Big Island (or Hawaii generally), please know that it’s really a wonderful time to be in the Islands. Because of all the volcanic activity, if you have ever wanted to do a Big Island helicopter flight, I would highly recommend it.  I can personally attest that our operators work hard to keep everyone safe, respect the fly zones and would ground flights if it was ever needed.

As far as the air quality, unless you are right at the hotspot, it’s business as usual. Basically, it’s perfectly fine when the trades are blowing. When the trades stop, we will get a bit of vog, which is quite typical.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and the Exotic Estates team if you have any questions about our Big Island vacation homes or activities! or

Me Ke Aloha Pumehana,
(with warm aloha)

Sarah Mater
Lead Concierge

Sarah Mater - Exotic Estates


Behind the Scenes in Breckenridge, Colorado urn:uuid:1d1ba349-29b2-61ae-c0f0-66d9d92ff6ba 2018-06-08T11:48:33-07:00 Just before the snow melted on the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, the Exotic Estates team took a tour of our incredible Colorado Homes throughout the resort town of Breckenridge.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

The special town of Breckenridge Colorado offers a small – town experience with a plethora of activities available year-round. As you stroll through downtown Breckenridge’s main street, you will find everything from art and beer festivals, live musicians, and historical homes dating back to the 1800s. Breckenridge has a vibrant personality and is sure to delight even the most discerning traveler.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

One of the largest historic districts in Colorado, Breckenridge is home to legends and characters that have their origins in Gold Rush of the mid 1800s. Today, this bustling resort town boasts western hospitality and Victorian architecture, and hosts happy skiers and snowboarders from around the world. 

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Breckenridge is one of the best places in Colorado for both summer and winter fun, offering many warm-season activities including hiking, mountain biking, hot air balloon rides, and a lively downtown arts district.

With a population of just over 3,000 people, it is easy to see why this friendly town is frequented by families, couples, and those looking for a fun adventure in a relaxed mountain environment.

Our favorite ski town is also a cultural destination! At the heart of downtown, you will find the Breckenridge Arts District, which features many art studios, galleries and public art and performance spaces. Tourists and locals alike can partake in pottery workshops, painting classes, and other cultural events.

Why Choose Exotic Estates?

What sets Exotic Estates apart from other vacation rental companies, is our continued commitment to service for our guests. We make it a priority to work with owners who are passionate about their homes, providing a seamless and easy process for those looking for a tailored experience from the first inquiry through check-out.

The Exotic Estates Team set out to shoot our debut commercial introducing our luxury Colorado vacation homes. We found some of our favorite homes to feature on-screen to give an up-close-and-personal look into our inspection process. Go behind the scenes and take a tour with us for some inspiration for your next trip.

Behind the Scenes Tour

The tour begins at our beautiful Breckenridge Style House. This Colorado villa was built in 2014 and boasts incredible views of the mountains and downtown Breckenridge. This private vacation home is in the exclusive neighborhood of Christie Heights and features over 3000 sq. ft. of luxury living space.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Truly a unique Breckenridge vacation rental, the home is perfect for up to 11 guests. This stately home offers a classic mountain cabin feel with wood siding and stone accents, The home also has a large porch with a private hot tub, gas grill, and plenty of outdoor seating. Whether you visit the home in the summer or winter, the Colorado landscape is alive with color year-round. During the winter months enjoy the sparkling white snow and during the summer, the wildflowers, pines and fresh mountain air are sure to delight.

As the Exotic Estates team walks through each home, we are checking all amenities to be sure our Breckenridge vacation homes are in top-notch condition for your vacation. Whether it is the linens, stove, or even the water pressure, we want to ensure that attention to detail is reviewed, providing you with peace-of-mind throughout your entire experience.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Breckenridge Style House offers an open layout design, and the beautiful gourmet kitchen features stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and a large breakfast bar and dining area. Guests staying in this home will love spending time together in the spacious living room, keeping warm by the fire.

This Breckenridge vacation home is only a 15-minute walk to the gondola, and whether you want a winter wonderland escape or a summertime adventure, the Breckenridge Style House is a charming Colorado vacation home!

Our tour continues at Breckenridge Views Lodge, which is perched on Baldy Mountain in Breckenridge, Colorado. This Breckenridge vacation rental boasts a rustic design with a classic Mountain Lodge feel. Offering views of the Breckenridge ski resort and 10-mile Range, this villa features 4,779 sq. ft.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Outdoors, you will find incredible views and a private patio featuring and outdoor hot tub, a gas grill, and a dining table perfect for enjoying vibrant Colorado sunsets. Bring the family together at this Colorado vacation home, where the great room can offer a warm and central gathering place and where floor to ceiling windows give an unobstructed view of the gorgeous Colorado landscape.

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Breckenridge Views Lodge is only four miles away from the ski slopes, and only a couple of minutes’ walk from the shuttle. A short drive away, guests can enjoy the shopping and dining options of Main Street and there are also plenty of hikes nearby.

The Luxuriously Local Experience

Exotic Estates Breckenridge Vacation Homes

Breckenridge offers gorgeous weather and exciting ventures all year round. The Exotic Estates team provides a Luxuriously Local experience, as our villa specialists have not only toured most of our Colorado vacation rentals, but they also live in Colorado to provide you with locals' insight for a truly tailored vacation experience.

If you are looking for a resort-town that is also rich in history, culture, and architecture dating back to the 1800s, then you will want to plan a visit to beautiful Breckenridge. Whether you are looking for a cozy mountain Lodge, slope-side condo, or a private home set amongst the pines of the Rocky Mountains, let our local Villa Specialists help you find the perfect option.


Visiting the Waipio Valley on the Big Island urn:uuid:792cbeb9-392d-6ee7-0727-4612ffb98e77 2019-11-10T18:23:10-07:00 Take a step back in time with a visit to the lush Waipio Valley on the Big Island, known as the Valley of the Kings for its role in ancient Hawaiian life.  Learn about this stunning valley on the Hamakua Coast. 

A Little History on Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley is known to be among the most breathtaking and sacred places on the islands, due to its historical importance to the Hawaiian people. Many stories about ancient Hawaiian gods you hear of today were set in the Waipio Valley, long before settlers roamed the land.

The valley was once home to ancient Hawaiian rulers and warriors who fought for control of the beautiful island kingdom, this includes King Kamehameha the Great, who trained in the valley as a young boy before becoming the ruler and unifier of the islands.

The valley is also known as ‘the sacred place’. It has been said that there are royal burial sites located on the cliffs and anyone who lives in the valley will be protected by the kings’ mana (divine power). Not even the many reoccurring tsunamis in the late 1800’s could harm the settlers and residents of the valley.

Waipio Valley Big Island of Hawaii - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

Visiting Waipio Valley

Today, there are now less than 100 local residents who reside in the valley and live purely off the land itself. The valley’s indescribable beauty drives many tourists and locals to this area each year, most of which are looking to either hike to the black-sand beach or view the six acres of taro planted below. 

The valley is located on the northeastern shores of the Hamaku Coast, tucked in the Kohala Mountains on the Big Island. Out of the seven valleys on the windward side, Waipio valley is the largest and most popular site to visit.

Big Island of Hawaii Map with Resorts

Waipio, also known as “curved water” in the Hawaiian language, stretches about a mile wide at the coast and travels six miles further into the valley.

The lush tropical landscape rises nearly 2,000 ft. and boasts many cascading waterfalls. Hi’ilawe waterfall is known as the tallest and most popular waterfall in the valley.

Waipio Valley Big Island Waterfalls - Exotic Estates

You will also find the Waipio River, which flows from the mountains until it reaches the beach. A visit to the valley will have you dreaming about "paradise found" well after you’ve returned home!

Waipio Valley Big Island River - Exotic Estates

Getting down into the valley is tricky. The road heading into the valley is known to be very steep, reaching an average grade of 20-25%.  Therefore driving into the valley is not recommended, as the road heading down to the valley can be very narrow and tough to navigate through. You can, however, hike to the valley floor from the lookout point.


The Waipio Valley is considered a moderate-to-difficult trail, recommended only for those who are physically ready to hike steep and often slippery terrain.

Waipio Valley Big Island of Hawaii - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

The trail itself is about 6.5 miles long and may take 3-5 hours to hike, depending on the amount of detours you decide to make along the way. Hiking down to the valley floor may seem easy, but the hike back to the top is what makes this trail very challenging—especially under warm weather conditions. It is best to start the hike early, to avoid hiking in the mid-day heat.

You can enter the valley from several different points, however the entrance by the parking lot is the easiest to find. From the parking area at Waipio Lookout, head down the paved road about three-quarters of a mile. Once the road is more level, continue to follow the road toward the ocean for another half-mile until you reach the black-sand beach. Note that the Waipio black-sand beach does not have lifeguards on duty, so it's not recommended for swimming due to the rough currents. 

Although the trail may be half paved and partially shaded by the tropical landscape, it is always important to wear sunscreen, bring lots of water and wear proper hiking shoes.

Hiking Essentials and Precautions

As always, is important to take proper precaution and pack the essentials before hiking to the valley.

Bring lots of water—the weather in the afternoon can be very warm so it is important to stay hydrated and pack lots of water to last the entire hike.

Check the weather conditions before you hike—avoid hiking under bad weather conditions, as it can be very dangerous and extremely slippery when wet.

Pack proper hiking shoes—due to the steep and slippery terrain in the valley, it is best to wear proper shoes for the hike. We recommend closed-toe hiking shoes for this hike. Avoid wearing flip-flops.

Sunscreen—always wear sunscreen. Reef safe sunscreen does not contain any harsh chemicals, keeping the marine life safe and protects you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Stay on the trails—majority of the land is located on private property, it is best to stay on the trail and avoid entering if it is not a public area to avoid getting lost or trespassing on private land.

If you decide to bring snacks/food on your hike, please discard all trash into designated trash containers or take everything back with you for proper disposal. Take a pack-in / pack-out approach.

Mahalo and enjoy the Big Island’s Waipio Valley!

Are All Beaches in Hawaii Public? urn:uuid:ed04aa13-d1d2-d1ad-0fba-d5d3b81c7cc7 2018-06-03T22:23:53-07:00 In the Hawaiian Islands, there are many different types of beaches to choose from, whether you’re looking to experience black, red, white, or green sand beaches—Hawaii has it all! You may have wondered if some beaches in Hawaii are privately owned.

Lucky for you, all beaches in Hawaii are open to the public, with the exception of certain Federal Government areas. That’s right—there are NO private beaches in Hawaii!

According to the Hawai’i Supreme Court, any land below the highest wave line is considered state property and open to the public. In general, the highest wave line is indicated where the wet sand changes to dry sand, found only during the peak hours of high tides. However, there is no actual way of determining where the line falls or where the public land starts and ends.

Aloha Hawaii Sand - Exotic Estates

In the past, some private landowners camouflaged beach access points in Hawaii to add additional privacy by blocking beach pathways. However, that should not be an issue today, as it is now a public offense and misdemeanor to block public access to beaches.

The only thing that may limit public beach access is the natural vegetation that grows along the shorelines. Naupaka (most commonly found), Beach Morning Glory and Beach Heliotrope are the main three natural plants found growing uncontrollably near the shorelines and blocking public beach access. If not regularly maintained, the natural flora will overtake and limit public access. It is indeed the County Government and private landowners who are required to provide public access and maintain the natural plantation in the area.

Kailua Beach Oahu - Exotic Estates - by John Di Rienzo

In Hawaii we generally recommend visiting the more established beaches and avoid swimming without a lifeguard on duty. The reason why the popular beaches are considered ‘established’ is due to the safety of the beach and its ocean currents. The ocean currents and tides in Hawaii are known to be treacherous and can sometimes be very rough, especially on certain beaches and times of the year.  

Kauai Beach - Exotic Estates - by Shanon Searls

If you do decide to venture to a beach less traveled, it is best to always use the buddy system when swimming and never turn your back on the ocean. It is also always good to pack reef-safe sunscreen and rent a pair of water shoes, as most beaches in Hawaii are surrounded by marine life including fragile coral ecosystems.

Coral reefs are sharp, rock-like marine life. Although the reef may look tough, it is actually quite fragile. Before heading into the water, always look before you step and make sure you do not step on the reef.

Hawaii Snorkel Reef - Exotic Estates

As a reminder, all beaches in Hawaii (with the exception of Federal Government areas) are open to the public, so take full advantage of your vacation experience  and look for Public Beach Access points - and as always—have fun!


Six Hawaii Traveler Precautions urn:uuid:036b9c8f-49fa-bed1-f2b3-48f71d9e13f8 2018-05-31T09:49:40-07:00 The Hawaiian Islands are known for their romantic beaches, warm weather, and fun ocean activities.

Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates

Although the Islands’ beauty and charm are inviting, it is important to remember that Hawaii’s ocean waters and mountains are both wilderness environments. As such, visitors should always take appropriate precautions before hiking the rugged valleys and mountains or visiting the beaches on the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii stays pretty warm throughout the year, although there environments where you may experience a dramatic change in the temperature. Climate changes on the Islands will vary depending on the island you visit, the location and elevation, and the time of year. Eastern or Windward sides tend to be more rainy, while southern and western sides of islands tend to be more dry. In general, summer is known to be very dry with warm temperatures, while winter is filled with light showers and sometimes high winds.

Here are six hazards to look out for on a visit to the Hawaiian Islands.


Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates

Never turn your back on ocean waves. The ocean may look calm for a moment, but don’t forget there might be a wave on its way, especially in Hawaii. Always play facing the waves to avoid any surprise sets and injuries.

A Note on Hawaii’s Famous Waves. During the summer season, ocean conditions vary depending on the location of the island. The nature of the surf on each shore depends very much on the weather events happening thousands of miles away. Storms in the North Pacific generate the famous north shore waves during the winter season, while summer swells arrive on southern shores from the winter storms in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the summer, north shore beaches usually have calm waters, with small waves, except for those areas exposed to strong trade winds. Conversely, east and south shore swells can be large and rough with strong trade winds - these areas are typically good for surfing and windsurfing. A good example of this is Diamond Head beach on the south shore of Oahu, which can always sport high surf beyond the reef.


Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates


Be on the lookout for posted ocean safety signs. Posted signs are there to help protect and warn you of the hazardous conditions in the area. Some signs are permanent, while others are posted daily, depending on the beach and the conditions. If you are unsure about the sign or beach conditions, it is best to avoid the area or find the nearest lifeguard stand – this leads to the next point.

Do not swim when there are no lifeguards on duty. You may be a strong swimmer, but even the best swimmer in the world won’t be a match for Hawaii’s ocean currents and random weather changes; there need not be huge waves for there to be dangerous currents. It is always best to watch your children and avoid the shores when there is no lifeguard in sight or on duty. The lifeguards are there to watch over everyone’s safety on the beach. It’s best to use the buddy system when entering the water, regardless of how dangerous the current conditions are. If there is an emergency and you find yourself in need of lifeguard assistance, raise your hands above your head to get the attention of a nearby lifeguard and other swimmers or beachgoers.


Coral Reefs Hawaii - Exotic Estates

It is important to respect and enjoy the colorful coral reefs. Snorkeling is one of the top ocean activities in the Hawaiian Islands and it is important to understand how to interact with your surroundings while enjoying this natural wonder. Coral has sharp edges that can easily cut skin. Although it may look and feel very rock-like, and cut easily, it is also very fragile. Therefore, it’s important to not stand on or touch coral so that you do not damage the fragile ecosystem.

In addition, most of the coral reefs have urchins and eels that may be hiding in small nooks and crannies. Sea urchins have sharp poisonous needles. If you happen to cut yourself on a sharp reef, or have been exposed to a sea urchin, quickly exit the water to carefully address the wound and disinfect area to prevent any infections.

TIP: To avoid ocean injuries, it is highly recommended for visiting guests to pack a pair of water or "reef" shoes.


Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates

Keep a lookout for jellyfish! Each month, about 8-12 days after every full moon, Hawaii receives a visit from the Box jelly. This invasion can last a few days.

The box jelly is commonly found on the south shore beaches of Oahu, including Waikiki. The box looks like a milky-colored plastic bag (note that the jelly pictured above is not a Box). Its body is can range from one to three inches long with tentacles up to two feet long. While the Hawaii box will deliver a less potent sting than box jellies found in other parts of the world, like Australia, they can still cause a significant sting, which can lead to shock in those that are sensitive to the venom.

The good news is that while these stings can be painful and scary, Hawaii, unlike other tropical destinations, has US-standard urgent care locations often within close proximity to the popular Oahu beaches where these stings can occur, so treatment is never too far off. 

Beware of the Portuguese Man-O-War!

The Portuguese man-o’-war is not a jellyfish but a dangerous member of the Cnidarian phylum family. This sea creature is well known in Hawaii, due to its common sightings and painful stings. The Portuguese man-o-war often looks like either a blue or a purple bubble and ranges can have tentacles up to 30 feet long. The difference between the Portuguese man-o-war and the jellyfish, the man-o-war cannot swim, but uses its bubble as a sail to float across the water using the wind. It is often difficult to spot a man-o-war in the water; under most conditions, this sea creature usually gets pushed onto the beach by the ocean currents or wind, so be on the lookout for posted signs.

On Oahu, the beaches typically impacted by jellyfish include Waikiki, Ala Moana Beach Park, Haunama Bay, Queens Beach, near Diamond Head, and the Waianae Coast on Oahu. Poipu Beach on Kauai is also affected, and you will typically see posted warnings after a full moon has passed. Maui and Big Island beaches may also be impacted on occasion.


Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates

The ocean is not the only hazard in Hawaii. It is known that the Hawaiian Islands receive more sunlight than many other places on the U.S. Mainland, which means it’s easier to get a vacation-ruining sunburn. It is generally recommended to use 30 to 100 SPF sunscreen to avoid the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen every two hours and every time you exit the water. If you do not re-apply, you will have a higher chance of getting an unwanted sun burn during your vacation.

Tip: avoid tanning during the hours of 11AM – 2PM or when you are under ‘short shadow.’ During this time, the sun’s rays are the most intense and a burn can be uncomfortable to deal with while on vacation. If you or your friends and family do get sunburned during your stay, you can try applying natural aloe to the burn.


Hawaii Travel Precautions Exotic Estates

If you do decide to explore inland, take caution when hiking the valleys and mountains of Hawaii, as terrain is steep, often slippery, and rocks may be loose. When hiking in the Islands, it is recommended to have a map and stay on designated trails - better yet work with a guide! (note our Concierge can assist on this front). If a sign is posted at a trailhead that the trail is closed, find another to explore, as this often means that the rocks and ground are unstable and someone has already been injured.

Also, be sure to check the weather prior to hiking, as conditions can change quickly and dramatically, especially with heavy downpours in higher elevations. Clearly, do not hike under bad weather conditions and do not hike alone. For your safety, always tell someone where you are going and watch for caution signs.

When on a serious hike in Hawaii as elsewhere, it is recommended to pack essential gear: proper foot wear depending on the terrain, a backpack to hold your gear, water, a cellular device, flashlight, extra batteries or portable chargers, sunscreen, hat, rain jacket, first aid kit, extra food, trekking poles, whistle, a mirror for signaling, and always carry a map. When in doubt, do not hike.

For Exotic Estates’ guests, if you have any questions and concerns throughout your stay on the Hawaiian Islands, our trusted local Villa Specialists and Concierge are here to help. Whether you are looking for fun activities, advice, or suggestions - we are here to ensure that your vacation in Hawaii fun and memorable!

Japanese Tea Ceremony in Waikiki urn:uuid:ce6c3e4f-6cfe-850e-4ad6-80b4792bd54d 2018-06-13T21:50:14-07:00 Waikiki. Love it. Hate it. Despite the things you may hear or feel about Waikiki, it’s a classic Hawaiian destination that offers big-city fun and iconic views along the shores of Waikiki Beach. Few sights are more famous and synonymous with Hawaii than that of Diamond Head crowning the arc of Waikiki Bay.

John Di Rienzo Photo of Waikiki Diamond Head

This bustling tourist center is in fact an ancient leisure destination that was once the playground of Hawaiian royalty. Later it was home to the burgeoning post-War Hawaii tourism boom, with large, now iconic, hotels filling the shorefront.

Today, amongst the high-end retailers on Kalakaua Avenue and Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki, you can still find cultural treasures: one of them is the Urasenke Foundation.

Urasenke Foundation - Waikiki Oahu

Tucked away in an unassuming building in Waikiki, the Urasenke Foundation is an international ambassador of Chado - The Way of Tea, known to many in the West simply as the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The spirt of Chado is embodied by these concepts: Wa – Harmony; Kei – Respect; Sei – Purity; and Jaku – Tranquility.

A Unique Cultural Encounter

The Foundation’s presence here speaks as much to the profound cultural influence that the Japanese-American community has had on Hawaii as to the state’s proximity to Japan. If you are looking for a family-friendly cultural experience, the Urasenke Foundation offers an interactive, educational encounter that is convenient, short and experiential – your kids will remember their tea ceremony for years to come!

"Wa - Harmony: To live in harmony with each other, nature, and with our surroundings."

The buildings that are home to the Urasenke Foundation are low-rise, mid-century structures, which were once common in the area. Now, especially close to the shore, they are relatively rare, and seem like holdouts in a manically gentrified and skyward-bound cluster of luxury hotels and condos.

According to the materials that the Foundation provides its visitors, the Japanese tea ceremony has its roots in twelfth century Japan. Zen monks returning from study abroad brought the tradition of matcha tea, which is a form of green powdered tea, back to Japan.

The Urasenke Foundation traces its roots back to Sen Rikyu, a tea master, who lived in 16th Century Japan. The family’s estate in old Kyoto exists to this day and contains ancient tea rooms going back 350 years. Japan considers the Urasenke estate a cultural treasure.

The Foundation maintains outposts in several cities outside of Japan, including Honolulu. The Waikiki branch is small and seems to be under the radar of most visitors. On this recent visit, there just two guests enjoying the experience, which made it feel like we had been invited into a private home.

What’s a Visit to Urasenke Waikiki Like?

First off, the Foundation staff ask for a modest donation of $5.

Before guests sip any tea, they are given a bit of history and context. Guests view a video that explains the history of Chado and the concepts embodied in the ceremony.

"Kei - Respect: To respect each other and recognize our mutual dependence upon one another."

What is so striking and beautiful about the tea ceremony is that every action, every symbol, and every feature of the environment is carefully scripted and filled with significance.

As a novice, it seems as though this ceremony is about being present and peacefully conscious, appreciating your environment, your host and your fellow guests.

Entering the Japanese Tea Room

When the video finishes, you are led outside, down a path to the tea room. The room is open to a small garden and there are stepping stones that lead to the entry doorway, very much in the Japanese garden tradition.

Urusenke Foundation Waikiki Oahu

One removes one’s shoes and steps onto the tatami mats. Per the video, guests appreciate the Tokonoma, an alcove that contains a hanging scroll of calligraphy or perhaps an arrangement of flowers. Guests learn that the decorations in the tea room will change to reflect the season.

Urasenke Foundation Waikiki Oahu - Tokonoma

Preparation of Tea

Once you are seated on the mats (you are not required to sit in the Japanese style if you are not accustomed to it), the host enters the room. She is wearing traditional kimono, and she bows in reverence – an accommodation that is returned by guests.

"Sei - Purity: To strive for purity in both the outer, physical sense as well as the inner, spiritual sense."

She is accompanied by an assistant who acts as a guide and translator, explaining to the guests what the host is doing and the significance of each nuanced move.

Urasenke Foundation Tea Ceremony - Oahu Waikiki

As we attended in May, they had just changed the nature of their tea brazier. During the winter months, a tatami mat in the center of room is removed and a sunken hearth is placed in the space, below the floor. The summer brazier, pictured above, sits on top of the mats, towards the back of the room.

The first tea we were given was a thick bitter tea. Guests traditionally bow to the host to thank them for the tea and then one is supposed to place the tea in the left hand and steady it with the right, turning the bowl so that you do not sip tea from the front.

Urasenke Foundation Waikiki Oahu Tea Ceremony

This turning of the bowl is a subtle reflection of the humility that the ceremony evokes among its participants. Once finished, you bow once more.

Urasenke Foundation Waikiki Oahu Tea Prep

A second, thinner version of tea is then served. These teas are just a few sips worth, not the large mugs that we are used to sipping on chilly nights.

Guests are also given special biscuits that come from Kyoto to accompany their tea. In the full traditional ceremony, one learns that a meal is also presented in a highly stylized fashion. Think exquisitely prepared bento boxes with artfully presented culinary treats.

"Jaku - Tranquility: To have the mind that is always serene. To find a calmness and steadiness of mind."

The entire experience lasts around 50 minutes, so it’s not a huge time commitment for visitors looking to the get out to the beach or tour around the island of Oahu.

The Foundation holds presentations on Wednesdays at 10:00 am and 11:00 am HST. You can confirm the schedule by emailing the Urasenke Foundation when you plan your visit.

The Urasenke Foundation in Oahu is located at the following address:

Urasenke Hawaii
245 Saratoga Road
Honolulu HI 96815
tel: (808) 923-1057

Enjoy this little treasure, and start your day on Waikiki Beach with a cultural excursion that will stay with you forever, and may even inspire some younger ones to explore Japanese culture further.

by John Di Rienzo

Summer Events - Hawaiian Islands urn:uuid:12ccca2b-fff9-765b-b300-2a343ad6cb76 2019-06-24T02:49:55-07:00 There is no better vacation than a summer vacation on the Hawaiian Islands!

Hawaii has many exciting summer events on deck and each island offers a true cultural melting pot. Exotic Estates' guests will have the opportunity to experience everything from hula competitions and luau’s to canoe races and jazz festivals. Hawaii is known for its incredible natural beauty, spectacular mountains, gorgeous beaches and, of course, a friendly aloha spirit. If you are visiting Hawaii this summer, check out our summer event schedule!

Maui Summer Events 2018

Maui Summer Events 2018

Friday Night Town Parties

Taking place every Friday, do not miss these fun parties on Maui! Sponsored by the County of Maui, the party is in a different location on each Friday of the month. Including entertainment, local food, the Friday night parties are a locals and tourists favorite.

First Friday of the month — Wailuku Town Party (Central Maui)

Second Friday — Lahaina Town Party (West Maui)

Third Friday — Makawao Town Party (Upcountry)

Fourth Friday – Kihei Town Party (South Maui)

Wa’a Kiakahi Canoe Festival

From June 1-3, the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association will host Wa’a Kiakahi on Kaanapali Beach, an event that celebrates the traditional Hawaiian skills needed to sail the classic outrigger canoes. This festival will feature canoe races, demonstrations, and sailing-canoe rides. Close to most of Exotic Estates’ vacation rentals, Kaanapali is a fun place to watch the races and then finish the day with happy hour near the water.

37th Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

Taking place from June 7-10, 2018, this classic Maui festival offers wine tasting seminars, cooking demos, and the Kapalua Seafood Festival with a Grand Tasting Event. The perfect event for aficionados and casual drinkers alike, join world-class winemakers and celebrity chefs for one delicious weekend. Don’t miss out on one of the most popular events of the summer!

Maui Film Festival 2018

If you happen to find yourself on the island of Maui between June 13th, 2018 through June 17th, 2018, head to the south side of the island and visit the Maui Film Festival in Wailea! It is that time of the year again, where visitors from around the world gather together to celebrate films throughout generations and filmmakers for their demanding work and inspiration. This event is set in a gorgeous and relaxed island atmosphere, leaving the ‘big business’ mentality behind on the mainland. The Maui Film Festival is about enjoying films and exposing people to a different assortment of films. The festival features five days and five nights of film premieres, filmmaker’s panels, special screenings, tributes, and award ceremonies

27th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key (Ki Hoalu) Guitar Festival

Taking place outdoors at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului on June 24th, this annual concert is free and features Hawaii’s top slack key guitar musicians. Guests will also enjoy local food and craft booths, making it the perfect family outing for anyone visiting Maui this June!

Cycle to the Sun

For any serious cyclists headed to Maui this summer, if you are up for one of the most difficult bike rides in the world, then you will not want to miss this event! Don’t worry if you don’t ride bikes as watching this nail-biting race will be just as exciting. Taking place on June 30th, the annual Cycle to the Sun starts at sea-level in Paia and climbs 10,000 feet (in 36 miles) on the longest and steepest paved road to reach the top of Haleakala.

July 4th Fireworks

This annual celebration takes place in Lahaina and features live bands, local food and drink specials at many eateries, and fun festivities for all! The firework show will light up the sky and is the only public 4th of July fireworks display on the island. Grab the family and beach towels and find a spot in Lahaina or enjoy the show from the privacy of your Exotic Estates Maui Villa.

Big Island Summer Events 2018

Big Island Summer Events 2018

King Kamehameha Day Celebration Parade

On Saturday, June 9th-11th, 2018 held at the historic Kailua Village on the Big Island of Hawaii, gather together with the local residents in honor of the great, King Kamehameha I, who is well known for establishing the first capital of the united Hawaiian Kingdom in Kailua-Kona at Kamakahonu. Each of the eight islands represents a specific color and Hawaiian flower, making this annual event very similar to Lei Day Festival in Hawaii. The floral parade features appointed kings and queens per island, hula halau, equestrian units, marching bands, a horse-drawn carriage, and live music! After the parade, take some time to visit the many shops, galleries, and the historic landmarks of Kailua Village.

Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival

This annual event takes place at the iconic Mauna Kea Beach hotel from June 1-3, 2018, which sits oceanfront and features spectacular views. A weekend full of events, attendees will experience full days of performances from award-winning artists from around the world. Enjoy the beauty of the Kohala coast while you listen to lovely music that even the casual listener will enjoy.

July 4th Parker Ranch Rodeo

The annual July 4th Rodeo offers a full day of family fun at the Parker Ranch Rodeo arena. With the towering Mauna Kea as the backdrop, the rodeo includes ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, dally team roping, Po’o Wai U, and much more! Local vendors will be giving delicious treats, so you can relax and celebrate American Western-style.

Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Races

From August 30-September 3rd in South Kona, enjoy a Labor Day celebration with this canoe racing event that takes place along the Kona Coast. Watch as the participants race the 18-mile Wa’a Kaukahi race between Kailua Bay and Honaunau Bay. This year, the women’s teams will start the race and then switch boats with the men’s teams, who race back up to the Kamakahonu. Extremely competitive, the race is the longest of the season and spectators can watch the race from many points along the Kona Coast.

Oahu Summer Events 2018

Oahu Summer Events 2018

Sunday Farmers Market at Ala Moana Center

Every Sunday on Oahu shop for island fresh produce, local cuisine, and crafts and much more! From 9-12 on Mall Level 2, enjoy the tastes of Hawaii.

Eat the Street Hawaii

On May 25th, celebrate Hawaii’s food trucks with a taste from over 40 food trucks and vendors. Attracting over 7,000 hungry people, join the masses and sample some of the best street food that Hawaii has to offer!

Lantern Floating Ceremony

This Memorial Day enjoy the magical sight of over 50,000 people gathering on the Oahu’s south shore to honor their loved ones. The goal of the Lantern Floating Hawaii is to give everyone a personal moment to remember, reflect, and offer gratitude to those who have gone before us. A true cultural experience, you don’t want to miss this delightful event this holiday.

Pan-Pacific Festival

Pan-Pacific Festival is an annual three-day cultural celebration in Honolulu featuring an assortment of music, cultural arts, food, and stage performances in a variety of locations in and around Waikiki. The event starts off on Friday, June 08, 2018 and runs until Sunday, June 10th, 2018. This event is free and open to the public, bringing people together in an effort to share and celebrate other cultures.

Kauai Summer Events 2018

Kauai Summer Events 2018

Taste of Hawaii

Taking place at Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua, Chefs from around the state gather to give a tasting extravaganza like no other! On June 3rd, taste some of the best food in Hawaii and then wash it all down with one of the 15+ beverage vendors giving micro brews, big name beer wine (dozen of varieties), soda or bottled. From 11:30am-3:30pm, this event is best for couples or groups of adults and costs $100 per person.

International Surfing Day Celebration and Beach Cleanup

If you are on island on June 16th, then join the locals to keep the beaches clean and safe for all. Meet up at the Main Pavilion at Lydgate Park for a light breakfast and coffee. Then you will walk down to clean Kitchens to Nukoil’i Beach (Marine Camp). Lunch may be provided for volunteers.

Finding the Perfect Hawaiian Villa

Finding the perfect Hawaiian villa summer 2018

Searching for the perfect vacation villa for your Hawaiian Holiday? We have you covered. At Exotic Estates, you will have a wide variety of private vacation homes to choose from. Whether you are looking for a quiet one-bedroom home or a large beachfront estate to accommodate the entire family, our Exotic Estates Villa Specialists can find the perfect home for you. Start planning your Hawaiian summer getaway today!

Cinco De Mayo - History, Facts, and Where to Celebrate urn:uuid:9ef855ed-bc3d-54f3-1151-e6ee286177ea 2018-05-04T13:25:05-07:00 Cinco De Mayo is widely celebrated and commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army against the French on May 5th, 1862.

Initially becoming popular thanks to promotions by US liquor and beer companies in the 1980’s, some mistake this fun holiday as Mexican Independence Day (which is actually September 16th). However, no matter where you might be celebrating, Cinco De Mayo is a wonderful day to gather with friends and family and enjoy Mexican cuisine and libations!

Cinco de Mayo Exotic EstatesPhotography by Nura-Nal Coons

History Lesson

If you are celebrating Cinco De Mayo while staying in one of our fabulous Cabo Villas, impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of the holiday’s history.

Even though May 5th is not a national holiday in Mexico, it’s an official holiday in the state of Puebla where the actual battle took place. This was a violent and chaotic time in Mexico’s history, occurring after Mexico had gained independence from Spain in 1821.

During this period of battle, Mexico had accumulated massive debt to several nations. In 1861, Benito Juarez was elected as the president of Mexico and in response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz demanding their repayment. Although Spain and Britain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew forces, France was ruled by Napoleon III who used this as an opportunity to take over Mexico.

In late 1861, a well-manned French army stormed Veracruz, driving President Juarez and his command into withdrawal. The battle was essentially fought between 6,000 French troops and an unkempt force of 2,000 of Juarez’s men who were poorly supplied and outnumbered. Regardless, the battle lasted from daybreak to evening and the French eventually retreated, having lost nearly 500 soldiers while fewer than 100 Mexicans were killed.

Although this isn’t known as a major strategic win, the Battle of Puebla on May 5th represented a symbolic victory for the Mexican government.

Majority of the Cinco De Mayo traditions are normally celebrated in Mexican American populations, though you may also find various traditions celebrated throughout other parts of the world as well.

The United States, celebrates the Mexican culture and heritage with parades, parties, Mexican folk dancing, mariachi music, decorations, and traditional food such as tacos, enchiladas, tortilla chips and salsa!

Now that you know what you are celebrating, here’s a guide on where to observe this holiday!

San Jose Del Cabo Art Walk

This popular weekly event is held every Thursday evening from 5 to 9 PM from November through June. The Art walk was created by the Gallery District Association, allowing tourists and locals to explore the colorful and artistic filled streets of San Jose Del Cabo. The main street will be closed off from vehicles, allowing everyone to walk and enjoy an evening stroll through the area while they visit art galleries and experience wine and cuisine from local restaurants. This is a great way to kick-off May 5 celebrations!

13th Annual Cinco De Mayo Block Party in Cabo San Lucas

Join the continuation of Cinco De Mayo traditions and celebrate the biggest Cinco De Mayo event in Los Cabos! Los Cabos Mexican Grill & Cantina restaurant locations will be hosting their 13th Annual All Fiesta No Siesta Block Party! The celebration starts on Saturday May 5th, 2018 from 11AM – 12AM. During this event, you will be able to enjoy outdoor dining, cabana bars, and a wide variety of live events! It is the perfect celebration for families and friends!

Cabo San Lucas Bar Hopping

Cinco de Mayo Exotic Estates

What a better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than by enjoying drinks in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico?!

Latitude 22 – this fun bar features a Los Cabos history lesson, and is decorated with old photos of old fishing contests and gigantic catches. The walls are also adorned with life preservers from old vessels giving it an old-time nautical ambience and celebrating what Los Cabos is known for, deep sea fishing!  Offering amazing views of Land’s End, take a seat at the bar or choose an old-fashioned booth where you can enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner.

Baja Brewing Company – Baja California Sur’s first brewery features an amazing view of Land’s End from Medano Beach. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with menu options ranging from hamburgers to filet-mignon.  Don’t forget to grab one of their delicious beers on tap, we suggest ordering a flight, so you can try them all!

Slims Elbow Room – as you can tell by the name, this fun little dive is known as the “world’s smallest bar.”  There are only four seats at the bar, and two standing room spots at the front window. Enjoy country music and a shot of tequila while you tell your friends what you learned about Cinco de Mayo. Due to limited space, we usually just grab a drink and take a photo before heading out to the next stop!

Cabo Wabo – one of Cabo’s most famous bars, Cabo Wabo Cantina has been around for 20 years and comes with a Rock-n-Rock pedigree, originally started by Sammy Hagar. Stop by and enjoying live music, food and drinks.   There’s also a patio where you can enjoy burgers and cocktails. In honor of the holiday, we suggest a traditional margarita!

35th Annual Cinco De Mayo Celebration in Breck, CO

Kick off your Cinco De Mayo celebration in Breckenridge, Colorado and enjoy fantastic traditional Mexican food and drinks at Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina! This year’s menu will feature lobster & shrimp ceviche, variety of delicious tacos such as mango braised duck or steak chimichurri, along with more unique dishes!

The event starts off with a Silent Auction from 5:00PM to 8:30PM. Attending guests will also have the opportunity to win fun giveaway prizes throughout the evening, including a $400 Travel Package grand prize!

Live music will start at 8:00PM to 12:00AM with a $5 entrance fee after 8:00PM.

Tickets may be purchased at Mi Casa in Breckenridge, CO. Admission for adults $25 and kids $12 under twelve years, all proceeds will be going to the BOEC Willie Whalen Memorial Fund. Those who purchase their tickets in advance will receive a free House Margarita or Draft Beer!

Cinco De Mayo ‘Celebrate Culture’ Festival in Denver

In celebration of the 31st anniversary, Denver’s Cinco De Mayo ‘Celebrate Culture’ Festival takes place on May 5th through 6th, 2018 at the Civic Center Park. This event attracts attendees from all over the world and boasts two large stages with live entertainment featuring many different types of genres of Latino music and dance.

This event is great for families traveling with children! The fun and festive children’s carnival features hands-on activities, fuzzy animals and rides that children will love!

What is Cinco De Mayo without Traditional Mexican food?! At this event, you can enjoy more than 350 food vendors serving up tacos, enchiladas, burritos and more of Colorado’s best Mexican cuisines. Other events during this festival include a Saturday-morning parade, taco-eating contest, Green Chili Cook-Off, low-rider car show and Chihuahua race!

There is no better way than to celebrate Cinco De Mayo in Denver, Colorado!

As always, celebrate this holiday safely and download Uber or Lyft or designate a sober driver. Have fun!


A Little Piece of France in Breckenridge urn:uuid:88f58b47-f45e-be60-23fa-a30f3a981bf6 2018-04-30T11:29:13-07:00 La Francaise

The smell of fresh baked bread and croissants emanates from downtown Breckenridge every morning.  Follow your nose and you will find tucked away on Main Street in the heart of this humble resort-town, a little French bakery intoxicating the streets with the smell of freshly baked goods.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckendrige

La Francaise briefly takes you away from the snow peaks of Colorado and into the South of France, as this authentic French bakery makes all their goods in-house. From sweet and savory crepes to fluffy omelets, you will find a wide variety of delicious options to get you fueled for a day on the slopes.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckenridge

La Francaise was founded in 2004 by a French couple from Provence, France.  Their focus and commitment were for authentic quality pastry, food, and desserts. With their dedication, the Bakery started to grow. In 2012, new owners took over the careful commitment to authenticity and quality and expanded the menu items to keep a wide variety for happy patrons.  

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckenridge

The independently owned Bakery continues to enjoy growth and a steady base of repeat customers from all over the world.  Unlike many other bakeries to claim French histories, La Francaise’s French-trained Chef hand-crafts the goods on-site. Handcrafted each day, you will find fresh baked breads, pastries and mousses, tarts, and many other treats! These delicious treats are baked fresh everyday using only the purest quality ingredients such as pure butter, high quality bread flour, cream, and farm fresh eggs. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckenridge

The delightful French-style crepes are freshly made to order in both sweet and savory variations. The baristas are trained to create the finest espresso and coffee drinks while the hot chocolate is made the European way - from melted dark chocolate in fresh cream and milk topped with homemade whipped cream (trust us, it is delectable)! One of our favorite warm treats after a busy day in the mountains. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckenridge

For special occasions, La Francaise will create a larger sized dessert or tray of treats to put a true memory on the table.  Impress the family with an afternoon break full of warm drinks and sweet treats! They also feature mini sized pastries or sandwiches for a pre-wedding snack or birthday celebration. In summertime, you will find a beautiful outdoor patio space that looks over the Blue River with incredible views of the Ten Mile Mountains. In the wintertime, sneak into the shop early and bring back a box of goodies to your Breckenridge vacation rental!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Colorado Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Vacation rentals, Breckenridge Condos, La Franciase Bakery Breckenridge

If you are planning an outing before you hit the lifts, be sure to arrive early as you will not be the only one craving these delicious home-made delights! We arrived at the shop at around 8 AM during the week and I was surprised at the line, almost reaching the door. You will not regret it, though! The smells will entice you from around the block and you will be delighted when you open the door!


Earth Day with Exotic Estates urn:uuid:ffd27620-160e-84e2-0df1-9579d32a3d0e 2018-04-22T10:38:37-07:00 What is Earth Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Earth Day Exotic Estates

Unless you live under a rock, then you already know that today is Earth Day! Earth Day was created and dedicated to help spread awareness to preserve Earth’s life and natural beauty.

In the year 1969, there was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. According to the Earth Day Network, after seeing the amount of damage to our oceans and land the U.S. Senator and Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson, decided to create a National Holiday to focus on the ongoing environmental issues and spread awareness to help preserve our lands. Earth Day has been celebrated in more than a 100 countries and has a specific focus each year, bringing everyone together to help clean up earth.

This year on the Hawaiian Islands, Earth Day will be dedicated to ending the plastic pollution!

The Importance of Earth Day on the Hawaiian Islands

Earth Day Exotic Estates

Earth Day is very important day to the natives and local residents in Hawaii; it is a special day to help spread awareness of the ongoing pollution issue, which has been causing harm to our oceans, lands, marine life, and affecting our overall health. For several decades the Native Hawaiians have fought to preserve the lands in Hawaii. The islands provided the residents with food, shelter, and the Hawaiians believed that if you preserve the land, the land would give back to you.

Environmental Issues in Hawaii – Cause and Effect

Earth Day Exotic Estates

The native Hawaiians way of life and culture has always revolved around the ocean and land, with a time-old goal of preserving the native Hawaiian animals that live on the islands. The ancient Hawaiians lived off the land & sea long before tourists visited the islands. They would use nets to catch fish or harvest fruits and veggies from the land. Wild boars can also be found deep in the lush tropical forests of Hawaii and is still a favorite locals’ dish. Living off of the land and sea was more of a spiritual connection between the natives and their land. The islanders would pray to the gods to help protect and give them strength before they would venture out to sea in search of their next meal.

Those who are visiting the Hawaiian Islands may not notice any real threats, as you are rightfully enjoying the island’s natural beauty or aiming on having a fun time. However, there are many environmental threats to the Hawaiian Islands that you can be aware of. 

Today, pollution has increased at an alarming rate, becoming a major threat to our ocean by adding toxic waste and causing harm to the marine life and their habitat. According to statewide reports, there is an average of 15-20 tons of trash that builds up on the Hawaiian beaches each year. Many residents and nature conservation programs have come together to help save many of the endangered species and help clean the polluted areas. Tip: Opt for fitting as many of your group in one car as possible, or take an uber to your vacation rental to reduce the amount of cars on the road. 

The number one highest concern to our ocean is plastic pollution. Marine animals, such as the endangered green sea turtle, involuntarily consume the plastic waste found in the ocean. They do this thinking mistaking the trash for food, which causes them to suffocate or choke. Other animals such as birds and hump back whales are also consuming plastic thinking it is food, making it impossible for them to digest and causing the plastic to build up in their stomach. Tip: Travel with reusable water bottles and bring along your cloth grocery bags. 

Earth Day Exotic Estates

Another rising concern in Hawaii is the drastic decrease in shoreline near the beaches. Many scientists agree that global warming is causing a rapid increase in sea level, causing the shoreline to erode. Storm waves also play a big part in the decreasing shoreline. This issue has become a major concern for most coastal residents and hotels, as well as endangered marine life. As the shoreline decreases, many plants and animals also lose their habitats. The two endangered species you will often see in Hawaii, are the green sea turtle and the monk seal. Both species use the shore to either lay eggs or give birth and nurse on the beach.

Other unique concerns for Hawaii are the threats caused by alien species, both plant and animal. For example,  the bird speciece Honeycreepers were once a growing species of more than 50 but now there are only 18 remaining. Conservation methods help protects the birds and other endangered forest birds, providing them with a threat-free habitat. Tip: Decide which issues are most imporant to you and find a way you can help the cause! 

What You Can Do to Help

Earth Day Exotic Estates

Although our earth is in trouble there are many different ways you can help, it’s not too late! You can reduce plastic pollution by using reusable bags and water bottles. You can invest in solar panels (or research if your state aids). You can carpool to reduce pollution in the air and choose paperless to reduce tree consumption. There are so many small changes you can make that don’t have a large effect on your daily life.

If you are looking to make a difference and want to lend a helping hand while visiting the islands, there are volunteer opportunities such as beach cleanups and free events that offer many activities to help spread awareness for future generations.

See you at the beach!



April 21st, 2018

Connect with the community and lend a helping hand by volunteering with Malama Maunalua in honor of Earth Day. On Saturday, April 21st, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM HST, you will get a chance to help remove invasive algae and clean the Maunalua Bay on the island of Oahu, HI. By helping remove the invasive alien algae, it allows native algae to grow which is essential to marine life and humans.

April 22nd, 2018

Enjoy live music, food, and games at the Waimanalo Coastline Earth Day Fair at Waimanalo Beach Park on Oahu, HI! Sustainable Coastlines will be hosting a beach cleanup and festival, starting at 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM. Transportation will be provided to the cleanup area and area of your choosing—Makapu’u, Kaopo, Sherwoods, Bellows, or an underwater part at Makai Pier. Waimanalo Beach Park 41-741 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795

April 29th, 2018

In honor of Earth Day, on April 29th, 2018, visit the 21st Annual Maui Earth Day Festival and enjoy live music, local dishes, speakers, children activities and more! This event is located in Kihei, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and near the beach road behind Azeka Shopping Center. Entrance fee is $8 for adults and free for children. Doors open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Address: 1136 Uluniu Rd, Kihei, HI 96753


April 25th, 2018

Head to UH Maui College to celebrate Earth Day! The Earth Day Festival is located on the Great Lawn, featuring booths, food, music, EV ride and test-drive, and a special presentation about the Net Zero Energy Project.From 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM the community organizations and campus clubs will be showcasing their talents and services. Electric Vehicle ride and test-drive will take place 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

Hawaiian Superstitions urn:uuid:c7ae31ad-f923-fae1-99c5-67a796532172 2018-04-13T11:37:02-07:00 A Rich History of Folklore

When it comes to folklore and superstitions, the people of Hawaii have a rich history and it's good for visitors to know a little bit about them.

Long before hotels, condos, and tourists roamed these blessed islands, Hawaii was its own nation, a Kingdom, home to a rich culture filled with unique traditions and beliefs. This culture lives on today of course, but modern Hawaii’s traditions also reflect the multicultural heritage of the islands, with each immigrant group adding their own beliefs to the rich human tapestry and traditions.

In contemporary Hawaiian culture, local superstitions go much further than black cats or having seven years of bad luck from breaking a mirror, and often tie into the unique flora and fauna of the islands.

According to Hawaii Magazine “there isn’t a single culture that has immigrated to Hawaii that has not also brought with it the spiritual folklore of their origin.” Though there may be different superstitions intertwined with the Hawaii’s native beliefs, we thought it would be both fun and informative to share just a few of Hawaii’s Cultural do’s and don’ts. Some of these will be interesting and other will help you to be a more sensitive visitor to this unique and wonderful cultural melting pot.

Don’t take a lava rock from the volcano, or sand/rock from the beaches in Hawaii—you will be cursed by the fire goddess Pele!

Legends say Pele is a beautiful fire goddess known for her power, passion, hot-temper, jealousy, and, for being the creator of the Hawaiian Islands themselves! She usually appears as a woman with long hair wearing red, or an older woman with long, white hair, holding a cane.

Kilauea Volcano - by Shanon Searls

It has been said that if you take something natural from the Islands, such as a rock or sand, Pele will put a curse on you. Pele believed in spreading ‘Aloha’, she rewarded those who practiced the spirit of Aloha and those who are selfish were to be ultimately punished.

There are many stories told about the fire goddess’s wrath.  Some visitors’ claim to have seen a woman in red dancing by the crater at Kilauea National Park, which is her home.

If you want to get on Pele’s good side, pay your respect to the fire goddess by greeting her and the who you meet on the Island’s with Aloha.

Extra Credit - those who would like to really get on her good side, pay a visit to the Halema’uma’u crater and offer food or gin—its her favorite!

Don’t take pork on the Pali Highway—it will upset Pele!

According to the ancient Hawaiian legends, Pele fell in love with Kamapua’a, the Lord of Pigs. Kamapua’a is known to be a sensual hog spirit, a half-pig/half-man demi-god who lives in the swampy parts of Hawaii.

Pali Lookout Oahu - by John Di Rienzo

Although his epic battle over the land and romance with the fire goddess was well known, Pele was not his only lover. Kamapua’a also had a romantic connection with the snow goddess, Poliahu—it’s no wonder these two goddesses can’t stand each other! So, it follows, he is Pele’s rival, ally, lover and enemy.

Eventually the two agreed not to visit each other or cross over each other’s land, however taking pork over the Pali on Oahu means taking a form of Kamapua’a from his wet side of the island into Pele’s dry side. So, the story goes that if you do not want your rental car to break down, it is probably best to keep pork far from the Pali Highway and if you absolutely have to travel with pork, wrap it in ti leaf to keep you protected.

Don’t bring bananas onto a boat—it’s bad luck!

Those in Hawaii who fish regularly have perhaps heard about this superstition. However, it is thought that this belief goes back to simpler times in Hawaii, before motors and fiberglass bottoms. Ancient Hawaiian fishermen did not have maps or boats to navigate; they mainly used dugout canoes to voyage to other lands or fish at sea. Boats and canoes transporting bananas needed to move quickly to avoid the fruit from going bad, leaving fishermen no time to fish at sea. Hence…no fish = bad luck!

Big Island Fishing - by Shanon Searls

Do not whistle at night—it will attract the Night Marchers!

Who are the Night Marchers? The night marchers are known to be the spirits of the ancient Hawaiian warriors that moved with purpose to the sound of the drums, as they head out to battle. According to Hawaiian legends, some say these restless souls are looking for a way to reclaim their rightful territory or searching for a way to enter the new world.

It has been said that if you whistle at night, you are summoning the Hukai’po, aka the Night Marchers, and if you hear their drums—HIDE!

Hawaiian Fire Dancers - Exotic Estates

Night marchers are most active at night and said to march on certain nights, depending on the rise of the moon. It is considered an evil omen to look directly at the night marchers. If you hear the sounds of drums in the distance growing louder and see approaching torchlights heading in your direction, as a sign of respect you must lay facedown on the ground—this will keep you protected!

Picking the Red Lehua Blossom is a bad idea!

It has been said that Ohia and Lehua were young lovers, but one day Pele came across the handsome Ohia and wanted him for herself. When he refused Pele, she became angry and turned him into a warped tree. The beautiful Lehua begged to the gods to help turn him back, but the gods were unable to reverse Pele’s curse, instead they decided to turn Lehua into a stunning red flower and placed her on the tree so that the two young lovers would never be separated.Lihua Blossom - Exotic Estates

According to the legend, as long as the blossoms remain on the tree, the weather will stay fine and fair. However, once the flower is taken from the tree, rain will fall like hot tears since Lehua cannot bear to be parted from her lover Ohia. They are Hawaii’s very own Romeo and Juliet who live on in the most romantic and poetic natural way.

Beware of the Menehunes!

Legends say the Menehune are tiny mischievous people who lived deep in the valleys and forests of Hawaii, way before the settlers arrived. They were said to be two feet tall and enjoyed dancing, singing and archery.

West Maui Mountains - Exotic Estates

However, the Menehune are also known to use magic arrows to pierce the heart of angry people, igniting feelings of love instead. Local lore says they are smart, strong and excellent craftsman. It is said that the Menehunes used their great strength to build temples, fishponds, and the Menehune ditch on Kauai!

These are just a sampling of the Hawaiian folklore that exists in Hawaii. They are interesting, romantic and, in some cases, serve as a warning and guide for respectful behavior for visitors to the islands.

A wonderful place to learn about the history of the Hawaiian people is the Bishop Museum on Oahu. Also, the If you would like to learn about Hawaii’s royal family, a visit to Iolani Palace is also a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.


Planning a Hawaiian Wedding urn:uuid:a6627930-054c-3ef5-fa59-1896f7b2401a 2018-04-30T11:28:58-07:00 Congratulations on your engagement! Now, it is time to start the wonderful (and stressful) journey of planning your special day. Dreaming of having a romantic destination wedding in Hawaii? Let us take the some of the stress and questions away. Here are a few things you may need to know…

Hawaii is known for its natural beauty, intimate beaches, amazing year-round weather, and friendly aloha spirit. The Hawaiian Islands consists of several smaller islets and six major islands that you can visit: Big island (Hawai’i), Maui, Oahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Lana’i.

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When visiting the Hawaiian Islands, you will have the opportunity to experience different climates, such as tropical rainforests, dry desert areas, cool mountain regions, and sunny beaches,  all within a few miles. Whether you are searching for an intimate wedding on the beach or an adventurous wedding in the rainforest with gorgeous waterfall as your backdrop, the Hawaiian Islands are the perfect destination for a wedding!

Choosing the Best Hawaiian Island for Your Destination Wedding

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When choosing the perfect Hawaiian location for your wedding, start planning your ideal wedding date and research the historical weather data for that time of year.  Although the weather in Hawaii is gorgeous most of the year, there are certain times of year when the weather does not always cooperate.  Fortunately, the Hawaiian Islands receive only two seasons: summer, and winter.

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The summer season starts from June through the end of August and is known to be the driest season, with temperatures reaching high 90’s and low 80’s. Because most public schools offer spring and summer breaks, those traveling with families usually travel to Hawaii during these months. If you do not mind the crowd and you are willing to travel during the peak season, this is a gorgeous time of year to be in Hawaii.  We suggest that you try to plan this trip in advance in order to get the best deals on airfare.

Exotic Estates, Hawaii Wedding, Destination Wedding Hawaii, Maui Wedding, Big Island Wedding, Oahu Wedding, Kauai Wedding

If you’re planning your Hawaiian wedding on a budget, it is best to travel in the off-season between the months of November to March. Once the peak season ends, those able to visit during the off-season will get to experience lower airfare, gas, and hotel rates, not to mention less people on the islands!

Exotic Estates, Hawaii Wedding, Destination Wedding Hawaii, Maui Wedding, Big Island Wedding, Oahu Wedding, Kauai Wedding

Once you have chosen the time of year you would like to visit, it is time to think about which island is the best location for your destination wedding. When deciding between the four major Hawaiian Islands that you can visit, the island of Oahu is the most popular island and known to be the “heart of Hawaii”. Oahu, also known as Honolulu or ‘The Gathering Place,” offers the bustling the city along with laidback surf towns. Here, you will find a variety of beautiful beaches and plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy. There is also amazing shopping, which is great for out-of-town guests! Oahu is also the third largest island and home to most of the population in Hawaii.

The second largest (but equally as gorgeous) island is Maui, also known as ‘The Valley Isle.” Maui is best-known for its famous beaches, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and incredible views of the migrating humpback whales. The biggest, yet youngest island of them all, Maui offers four different climate zones and an active Volcano, the Haleakala Crater.

Exotic Estates, Hawaii Wedding, Destination Wedding Hawaii, Maui Wedding, Big Island Wedding, Oahu Wedding, Kauai Wedding

Kauai is known as “The Garden Isle”, home of some of the most dramatic views and lush tropical plantation. Here you will find rich culture, tropical rainforests, rivers and many waterfalls throughout.

The smaller islands include Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. Both Molokai and Lanai stay true to their Hawaiian roots by continuing to preserve their land. No matter which of the major four islands you hold your wedding on, a visit to these smaller islands will give you a glimpse of Hawaiian history where you can enjoy the Hawaiian culture and locals.

Finding The Right Venue

Once you have found the time of year and perfect island for your Hawaiian wedding, you will want to starting thinking about where to host your ceremony and reception.

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Like most, you are planning to take advantage of the natural beauty from the islands. Between all four islands, there are so many options where you can have an intimate wedding on the beach with a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, or exchange vows on the countryside, while dancing under the stars.

While it is common for most brides to investigate the possibility of getting married at a luxury vacation rental, the reality is that most homeowners and city regulations will not allow it. Reason being, most of our gorgeous vacation homes are in quiet neighborhoods, where it is understandable why wedding noise would not be welcomed. Instead, book the vacation home for family and friends over opting for the expensive hotel block. Weddings are a family celebration, and nothing brings family closer than spending quality time in a vacation rental.

Our Favorite Venues

Beach weddings are the most popular on Maui and are often ideal for small, intimate weddings. In Maui some of our favorite beaches are: Secret Cove, Maluaka Beach, Kapalua Bay, Ironwood Beach, and Waianapanapa in Hana (perfect for a sunrise wedding)! Note that you cannot have chairs or alcohol during a beach wedding on Maui, so be sure all your guests will be able to stand.

Exotic Estates, Hawaii Wedding, Destination Wedding Hawaii, Maui Wedding, Big Island Wedding, Oahu Wedding, Kauai Wedding

Although a beach wedding can be beautiful, they are not ideal for those who are looking to host a larger wedding with food, drinks, and music.

Another amazing location is the Olowalu Sugar Plantation. This oceanfront home was once part of the old Olowalu Sugar Plantation, and looks out toward the island of Lāna‘I, perfect for weddings at sunset.

Keawalai Church is perfect for exchanging your vows in a more traditional setting. Founded in 1832, this historical chapel offers an authentic scene in Maui to exchange your vows in front of loved ones!

Happy Planning!

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Planning a wedding is not simple and can be very stressful, especially if you are looking to have a destination wedding. Avoid the stress and hire a local wedding planner, this will allow you to have added time for other wedding tasks. We suggest White Orchid Weddings, who specialize in giving unique island weddings and receptions from simple to lavish!

While you are working on your guest list, your on-island wedding planner can aid with meeting the vendors, selecting the flowers, and help with setting up and touring the venue.

When looking for accommodations for your family and guests, leave that to Exotic Estates. We can help you find the best Hawaiian vacation rental close to your wedding venue where you can relax and prepare for your big day in the comfort of your own, private villa.

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Call our Hawaiian Villa Specialists today to find the ideal accommodations for you and your family to retreat during your wedding festivities!


Exotic Estates Features Telluride, Colorado urn:uuid:e911c84a-db0b-a1e5-83ec-14acb23ffe45 2018-06-11T15:31:47-07:00 Tucked in among the vast canyons of the San Juan Mountains, you will find the charming mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. We invite you to take a moment out of your busy schedule to go on a tour of this legendary mountain town with us. It's a place that is definitely a little fabulous, but also helps you connect with the sights and sounds of Mother Nature. 

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Telluride is in the southwestern region of the Rocky Mountains, offering unparalleled views of the 13,000+ ft. peaks. A town with a rich history, founded by explorers in 1878, Telluride was a former silver mining camp. The town was originally named “Colombia,” but due to the confusion between similar names in California, the post office renamed the town to “Telluride” in 1887.

Telluride Offers Year Round Activities

Telluride, Colorado, offers a wide variety of outdoor activities throughout the entire year. During the winter, Telluride receives over 200 inches of snowfall! Those who are planning on visiting during the winter season will have the opportunity to experience some of Colorado’s finest skiing, boasting over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain.

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Guests can experience the variety of activities and unique events that Telluride has to offer. As the winter season ends and the snow begins to melt, the summer season will soon fill Telluride with visitors from all over the world.  With its stunning landscape, each season has its own charm. 

A-List Celebrity Neighbors

Telluride is a wonderful place for families and friends looking for a quaint, but undeniably cool, mountain retreat. While undertstated, a measure of this town's beauty and charm is the number of A-list celebrities who have had homes in Telluride. Stars including Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Seinfeld have chosen Telluride for their mountain mansion.

Adventures in Telluride

Hiking Telluride

If you are into hiking, biking or rock climbing, you will love the summer season in Telluride. Hiking in the Rocky Mountains is by far the most popular activity during the warmer months and the sights here in Telluride are second to none.  With the wide variety of hiking trails and terrain in the Telluride area, you have the ability to explore many trails, ensuring that you can accommodate your group's skill level. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Bear Creek Trail. Bear Creek is an easy scenic hike located in the box canyon of Falls Park. This amazing trail is only a five-mile round-trip hike and leads you to a gorgeous waterfall at the end. A hike during the winter season will give you views of a gorgeous frozen waterfall and snowcapped mountains, a perfect opportunity for a photo with family and friends! Although its beauty may be breathtaking during the winter season it is highly recommended to be aware of your surroundings as surfaces can be slippery.
  • The Jud Wiebe Trail. Take a walk through the thick aspen forest on this moderately challenging hike. The climb up may be a workout but the outstanding view at the end will make it worth it. This hike can range from 1-3 hours, depending on ability and the number of selfie-stops.
  • Bridal Veil Falls Trail: If you are looking for a very challenging, yet rewarding hike, we recommend Bridal Veil Falls trail. This trail is well-developed and can be accessed by vehicle or walking. Bridal Veil Falls sits above the town of Telluride and splits into a river, which gently flows through the town. During this hike, you can also learn about the mining history and enjoy views of the mountains. Bridal Veil Falls is a 1-3-hour round-trip hike.

Be Prepared for Hiking in Telluride

For those looking to hike in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we recommended to come prepared with the essentials such as water, bug spray, sunscreen, a first aid kit, extra layers, hiking shoes, and proper trail maps.

Rock Climbing, Fishing and Rafting

Other outdoor activities for adventure seekers include: rock climbing and bouldering the peaks of San Juan Mountains, camping and backpacking, and river sports such as fly fishing or water rafting.

If you are looking for a motor-sports adventure, you can enjoy an off-road experience through some of the area’s highest mountain passes on a 4x4, ATV, or motorcycle. The Telluride region offers plenty of terrain for power-sports fans to explore!

Mellow Family Fun in Telluride

Although outdoor activities may not be for everyone, Telluride also offers a number of family-friendly recreational activities as well. In Colorado, you can make the most out of your stay by creating unforgettable memories while horseback riding through the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The spectacular views will surely take your breath away! If you are looking for something a little more relaxing, pack up some goodies from the local market and enjoy picnicking outdoors with family.

The Town of Telluride

Head into town and you will find many shops, galleries, and local restaurants that will satisfy a variety of palates. In the town of Telluride, you will also notice there are no chain restaurants or shops nearby, helping to support thriving, local businesses.

While you are in Telluride, don’t miss out on some of the top recommended restaurants and local cuisines in town!

Experience an American contemporary dining experience with breathtaking panoramic views at Allred’s Restaurant. The restaurant is located in the Telluride Ski Resort, nestled at the base of the mountain near the gondola. Allred’s Restaurant overlooks the mountain peaks and town of Telluride, offering an enjoyable evening of hand crafted cocktails, fine wines, and an unforgettable open-space dining experience. The menu offers a wide variety of decadent meals from wild-caught Alaskan halibut to cinder brined Berkshire pork chops. They also offer vegetarian and vegan dishes as well!

Telluride Colorado - Exotic Estates

If you are searching for the perfect date night plans, visit the charming 221 South Oak found in downtown Telluride. This charming restaurant offers an extensive list of wine, delicious food, friendly staff and has been renowned for its intimate atmosphere. At 221 South Oak, you can choose from beef, poultry, seafood, and freshly caught game. For those of you that do not eat meat, there is a full vegetarian menu.

About 11,966 feet above sea level, you will find Alpino Vino, the highest-altitude restaurant in North America. Aplino Vino can only seat up to 26 guests and offers a five-course dinner. The current menu is impeccable, and features porcini consommé with mushroom biscotti and a ricotta & spinach ravioli with fresh pea pesto and carbonara. Yum! During lunch, this ski-in/ski-out restaurant also offers the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. After you indulge, enjoy the outdoors by the wood-burning fire pit or if you feel up to it, take another ride on the slopes!

Finding a Telluride Vacation Rental

Searching for the perfect Telluride vacation home is easy with the helping hand of an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist. We have many homes throughout Telluride and whether you are looking for a ski-in/ski-out condo or a large private home, we can help you find the perfect option for your Telluride retreat.

Telluride Majesty is a cozy condo located on the second story of the San Sophia building, offering guests a spectacular view of Telluride. This ranch-style vacation home has a one-level floor plan that features two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a spacious main living area. With the ability to accommodate up to four guests, Telluride Majesty is perfect for a small family vacation, couple's retreat, or a group of friends looking to getaway.

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Telluride Peaks Penthouse is a gorgeous vacation rental offering breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. This three-bedroom and three-and-a-half bathroom penthouse is the perfect place for an intimate vacation, with space for up to six guests. All of the bedrooms at Telluride Peaks Penthouse feature high ceilings and a carefully selected décor, inspired by the beauty of Colorado.

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Looking for a ski-in/ski-out experience? Then you will love our Telluride Galloping Goose Villa.  This spacious 3,400 sq. ft. cabin-style home is ideal for families and can accommodate up to eight people. Offering three floors, a stay at this Telluride vacation rental will have you feeling right at home with its rustic and charming interior.

Exotic Estates, Telluride vacation rental, Telluride vacation homes

Offering incredible views, many activities, and a rich history, Telluride Colorado will have you feeling refreshed and truly in touch with the outdoors.

Contact an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist today for more details. 

Merrie Monarch Festival urn:uuid:b6a47e7e-24fb-7353-a398-61ecc3689480 2018-03-26T16:43:44-07:00 Merrie Monarch Festival

April in Hawaii is a locals and tourists' favorite, as guests visiting the island will get to experience beautiful weather, lower airfares, and fun upcoming events such as the well-known Merrie Monarch Festival!

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a free, non-profit organization honoring the legacy of King David Kalakaua, a fun-loving king who truly took pride believing in the Hawaiian culture and traditions, including the craft of art, music, medicine, and dance.

King David is known to be the last king and the second to last monarch of the Kingdom in Hawai’i. The name ‘Merrie Monarch’ was inspired by the king’s love for music, parties, fire-dances, and delicious food and drinks. King David is remembered for being the king who brought pride back to the Hawaiian people after being suppressed for many years.

As April quickly approaches, the locals are beginning their quest to set up for the 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a weeklong celebration filled with music, Hula shows, dance competitions, a Hawaiian arts fair, and a grand parade to celebrate the loving memory of King David La’amea Kalakaua.


To understand a little more about the Merrie Monarch Festival, we will give you a quick history lesson!

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Photo courtesy of our favorite Big Island videographers and photographers, Techy3 Design Studios. 


In 1963, the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, began to struggle economically, due to the devastation of the tsunami and the decline of sugar plantations. The Merrie Monarch Festival was created not only to honor what the king believed, but to also boost Hawaii’s economy through tourism, while continuing to educate locals and tourists about Hawaiian culture. The festival looked to strengthen Hawaii’s people through art, music, and literature practices and to ensure the vibrancy of the Hawaiian culture for future generations.


This one-week festival takes place on April 1st through 7th, 2018. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, the festival kicks-off with a Ho’olaule’a (celebration) starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, HI.  The local halau (hula group) will put on a spectacular performance for all of the locals and visiting guests to watch!

Photo courtesy of our favorite Big Island videographers and photographers, Techy3 Design Studios

On the following Monday through Friday, there will be a free entertainment at the Grand Naniloa Hotel starting at noon, followed by more exciting events and entertainment at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel at 1p.m.

The Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair is an annual favorite, featuring local artists, crafters and more entertainment. Guests can start off their stay on the island by exploring the Hawaiian Arts Fair, where you can find fun, handcrafted souvenirs, or a beautiful art painting for your home. The art fair begins on Wednesday, April 4th through Friday, April 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 7th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Shortly after the art fair, experience the wonderful Ho’ike Performances on Wednesday, April 4th starting 6:00 p.m. at the Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium. At this exhibition you will enjoy a night of hula and folk dance, influenced from around the Pacific.

On Thursday, April 5th at 6:00 p.m. the doors to the Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium will open to host the annual Miss Aloha Hula, where guests from all over watch the top individual hula dancers from each halau compete for the title of Miss Aloha Hula of 2018 and the contestants performing the hula kahiko, hula’auana and oli (chant).

The Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium also hosts the Group Hula Kahiko on Friday April 6th at 6:00 p.m. performing an ancient style dance and Group Hula ‘Auana & Awards on Saturday April 7th at 6:00 p.m., performing a modern style dance and an award presentation for the winners.

If you are looking for a fun and entertaining event for the entire family, visit the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade! The parade starts on Saturday, April 7th at 10:30 a.m. beginning and ending on Pauahi Street, traveling through the heart of downtown Hilo. During this year’s parade performance, there will be 800 marchers, 50 vehicles, two floats and five bands!

Do not miss out your chance to experience a truly traditional Hawaiian festival! Plan your getaway to the Big Island of Hawaii and soak in the beautiful traditions, culture, and music of the Hawaiian people.

Inspected Maui Villas by Team Exotic Estates urn:uuid:15ec8e11-d985-19e6-5f3b-f117d56fe8a6 2018-02-21T11:09:43-07:00 Maui Villa Inspections

Exotic Estates Villa Specialists are required to visit the company’s core destinations and tour its vacation homes and villas a regular basis. When travelers call Exotic Estates about a Maui villa in Hawaii, Colorado vacation rental or Cabo villa, they will have access to a collective pool of destination and specific home knowledge.

On a recent site inspection of our homes across the Hawaiian Islands, the team toured through some of Exotic Estates’ most popular villa rentals and even brought some new ones to the collection.

Maui Vacation Rental - Pool View

The team hails from diverse time zones to better serve our guests from the East and West Coasts and come with an incredible knowledge of destinations.

Maui was the first stop on a three-island tour. The team started in and around Lahaina, touring beachfront Maui villas and luxurious condo residences on Kapalua resorts.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Exotic Estates

Lahaina Vacation Rentals

The team started with visits to several gorgeous luxury vacation rentals in Lahaina, where many beachfront and hillside homes are located. The properties are in highest demand by Maui villa renters, who often return year after year to the island.

Truuli Maui Villa

Truuli Maui is an all-time favorite villa. This home is typical in the photos cannot give its size and beauty justice. It's set in a gorgeous and private location. The team loved it for the views, quiet and general creature comforts that it affords guests. For those who are looking for the best, this home is a winner.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Truuli Maui Villa

Exotic Estates Villa Specialist Danielle checking out the water pressure in one of the en-suite baths. 

Maui Vacation Rentals - Villa Inspection

Maui Royal Shores Villa

A standout home that the team found particularly special was the Maui Royal Shores Villa, located in a quiet area in Olowalu. This home is new, but has a wonderfully classic feel to it, and would fit in perfectly in the Hamptons or a refined New England beach town.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa

There is a formal living area with a soaring ceiling, along with comfy bedrooms, a stunning pool and separate cottage with gym.  

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa Living Room

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa Porch

Villa Specialist Todd Tolson is checking out the equipment!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa Gym

The home has incredible views of the ocean just beyond and sunsets are gorgeous.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Royal Shores Villa Pool

Lahaina Oceanfront Estate

Another favorite home is the Lahaina Oceanfront Estate. This property is spacious and capable of hosting large groups. As its name suggests, it sits on the ocean in Lahaina, with incredible views of the water, the island of Lanai and the boats swaying in the harbor.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Oceanfront Estate View

It’s more a family-friendly home than glamourous villa, but it has a wonderful old-school charm, with a sweeping staircase that creates a standout feature in the living room and a way to make a grand entrance on a special night!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Oceanfront Estate Stairs

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Oceanfront Estate Casual Dining

Imagine serving up Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family on this table, with the boats of Lahaina Harbor and Lanai as a backdrop!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Oceanfront Estate Dining Room

Todd and Danielle, two of our amazing Villa Specialists, taking in the view!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Oceanfront Estate Danielle & Todd

Lahaina Palms Villa

Lahaina Palms is a unique Maui vacation home because it offers guests so much land and privacy. The house itself is family-friendly, which means it's a nice, comfortable vacation home that invites families and friends to kick back, turn on the watefall and soak in the green swaying palms and pretty mountain and ocean views. It's not too fancy, but it's a perfect oasis for a rambling family that needs lots of grass for games and a private pool and spa tub for soaking up Maui's famous stary nights. 

Maui Vacation Rental - Lahaina Palms Waterfall

Here's Shanon just taking in the view by the pool waterfall. Hawaii calls!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Lahaina Palms Villa shanon Pool

Kapalua Luxury Condos

Up the coast about twenty minutes from Lahaina is the storied golfer destination of Kapalua. This beautiful resort community boasts a PGA golf course and several 5-star spas.

Below, Danielle is taking a snapshot of the incredible view of Molokai and the grounds below one of the luxurious residences we offer in our collection.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kapalua Condo Rental Danielle

The team toured the luxury residences located on the grounds of one of the nicest resort properties on Maui, allowing for the perfect blend of private vacation rental and villa living.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kapalua Condo Rental Kitchen

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kapalua Condo Rental Kitchen

These 3,000 sq. ft. luxury Maui condos offer three bedrooms, huge bathrooms, gorgeous views and access to the many resort features.

Here is Tyler, Todd and Danielle with their Excellence Standard Inspection booklets in hand!

Kapalua Vacation Rentals - Exotic Estates Team

The beach in Kapalua is right across the lawn and offers snorkeling and views of the outer islands.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kapalua Beach

Napili Cove Villa

The Napili Cove Villa was a standout for the team, with its charming interior design, quite location and unobstructed views of Hawaiian green sea turtles feeding in clear waters of the bay below.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Napili Cove Villa View

Maui Vacation Rentals - Napili Cove Villa Deck

Maui Vacation Rentals - Napili Cove Villa Living Room

The views from this home are stunning from all levels. Walking into the home, you are struck by the view outside of the wall of windows and the deck that wraps around. The upstairs adds another great perspective and the two bedrooms upstairs each feature the same stunning vistas. 

Maui Vacation Rentals - Napili Cove Villa Living Room Reflections

Maui Surf Villa

Another standout was a fabulous home in the hills overlooking the beaches of the West Maui, near Lahaina.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Surf Villa Views

The Maui Surf Villa is a newly constructed home with a contemporary surf-culture interior design motif that incorporates beachy colors and imagery.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Surf Villa Dining Table

The home’s unobstructed views of the outer island of Lanai blew away our touring Villa Specialists, as did its spacious rooms, clean surfaces and the indoor-outdoor living.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Surf Villa Living Room

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Surf Villa Living Room

Maui Vacation Rentals - Maui Surf Villa Ocean View

Kihei Vacation Home and Bungalow

The team made their way down to Kihei and Wailea to tour some of the company’s homes there. Kihei is less of a tourist mecca as Lahaina, however, it’s got a fun local flavor, with lots of fun restaurants and bars. Kihei and Wailea are also home to some of Maui’s favorite beaches.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kihei Maui Rentals

Of course there is the beach at the Wailea Beach Villas but then there are all the Kamaole or “Kam” beaches by Kihei.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kihei Beach Cove

Here's Shanon on one of the famous Kam beaches, with the gorgeous views of the West Maui Mouintains behind.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kihei Kam Beach Shanon

A great house is the South Maui Park Side Villa, which is family friendly and sits adjacent to a large oceanfront park with tennis courts and plenty of room for kids to play.

Maui Vacation Rentals - South Maui Park Side Villa

The home also has a private pool area in the backyard, so there is lots of fun to be had in and around the property. A favorite feature is the large living space upstairs with the billiards room, which is perfect for family fun in the evening.

Maui Vacation Rentals - Kihei Bungalow Views

While these homes and bungalows are on quiet streets, they are also walking distance from stores, restaurants and bars. You have the best of private Hawaiian vacation home living and being a “local” in one of Maui’s most authentic towns.

The long day of touring was capped off with a favorite Hawaiian treats – shave ice. Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice serves up the best on the islands many say, and the team agrees!

Maui Vacation Rentals - Ululani Maui Shave Ice

When you work with Exotic Estates, you will be paired up with a Villa Specialist who knows not only the destination, but the homes as well. They’ve walked it, turned on the faucets, checked out the closets, looked in kitchen corners and checked bed linens. They can advise you on how to live local in a setting that meets your unique needs.

Connect with a Villa Specialist today at!
Best Local Maui Hikes urn:uuid:7dfe58e4-72a1-c1ea-210c-d6276cf27e52 2018-04-05T15:28:14-07:00 Although taking a hike might be one of the last things on your vacation to-do list, we suggest you take at least one day to take a hike around the island of Maui. Experience tropical paradise from a breathtaking perspective where you will find an abundance of flora and fauna along with towering waterfalls. Whether you need a challenging workout or a relaxing breath of fresh air, we have and outstanding list of hike around Maui.

Maui Local Hikes, Maui Experts, Hiking in Maui, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

Photo courtesy Holo Holo Maui Tours 

We recently collaborated with Holo Holo Maui Tours to bring you the most exclusive list of fun and gorgeous hikes on the island of Maui. Broken down by category from family-friendly hikes to hard core, you will find the best option for your excursion.

Gather everyone from your Maui vacation rental and head to the trails today!

Regular Hike for Everyone – Kids, Adults & the Elderly

Twin Falls

What we love about it: This trail is easy to navigate on your own and it is the closest waterfall hike from the “resort side.” The entire trail is 1.5 miles in & out. There are several gorgeous falls & multiple pools along the way, perfect photo opportunities for your Instagram pic! There is an abundance of tropical flora & fauna such as hibiscus, banana, bamboo, ginger, etc. (try and pick out as many as you can name)! The maintained trail is found on the grounds of Waiale Farms, who offers guided tours. The Farm personnel monitors rainfall & water level in the streams and Ute is one of the farm owners. She often offers frees rides nearing the end of the trail aboard her Mule for the elderly & Kupuna only (perfect for older generations of the group). The property is also fronted by a farm-stand that offers many delicious local treats

Local Tips:

  • Park in the lot next to the entrance (the lot past the bridge is known for break-ins) where there is security
  • Always check the weather before heading out to the rainforest
  • Never enter streams or pools that have rushing water
  • Bring a towel & mosquito repellent
  • Water shoes are nice to have to reach the last waterfall “caveman.” Two stream crossings will be necessary

Maui Local Hikes, Maui Experts, Hiking in Maui, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation RentalPhoto courtesy Holo Holo Maui Tours

Regular Hike Great for Kids 6 & Up

Haleakala National Park (Pipiwai Trail)

What we love about it: This trail is easy to navigate on your own and boasts an impressive variety of landscape such as Hawaii’s famous Banyan trees, bamboo thickets, cliffs, gorges, narrow paths, bridge crossings & waterfalls. The prize at the end of this trail is the incredible 400-foot Waimoku Falls! Swimming is possible if stream level permits and it is easy for older kids but a little challenging for the younger age group. Hiking distance is 4 miles in & out. The trail is maintained by the National Park and there is an entrance fee required ($25 per vehicle) so be sure to carpool!

Local Tips:

  • Time yourself properly. The trailhead is quite a distance from the resort area. Start the hike no later than 1pm in the Winter and 2pm in the Summer in order for adequate sunlight
  • Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. The bamboo thickets don’t let in enough sunlight to dry up the grounds
  • Pack a rain jacket – this area is known for shifting rain clouds. It’s nice to have it if you find yourself amongst a sudden downpour
  • Bring a towel, mosquito repellent and water
  • Not recommended to combine it with a Road to Hana tour unless you decide to camp on the National Park grounds
  • Guides not permitted. Self-guided only

Regular Hike Great for 12 & Up

Waihe’e Ridge Trail

Why we love it: This trail is easy to navigate on your own, but you can also hire a private guide to enrich the experience. Guests who are interested in historical, cultural & mythological stories should go this route!

Maui Local Hikes, Maui Experts, Hiking in Maui, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation RentalPhoto courtesy Holo Holo Maui Tours

One can also learn about the many uses of the trees, shrubs & flowers along the way. Waihe’s Ridge trail is kept by the State of Hawaii and is found just 30 minutes from the Kahului Airport. Hiking distance is only 5 miles in & out with a 1500-foot ascension/descent. For bird’s eye views, there is a choice to climb a towering ridge flanked by two steep valleys’ (great photo opportunity)! This trail boasts a vast variety of landscape including many indigenous species such as pine forest, guava groves, kukui trees, passion fruit vines, fern & ti plants, ‘Ohia & sometimes even misting clouds as they rise into the hills. After finishing this hike, you will have a Great feeling of accomplishment! It is challenging work to reach the top!

Maui Local Hikes, Maui Experts, Hiking in Maui, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation RentalPhoto courtesy Holo Holo Maui Tours

Local Tips:

  • Hit the trail in the morning. The earlier the better. One needs “to beat” the daily clouds that will gather near the top for the best views.
  • Check the weather – not a great hike in the rain
  • Be prepared to sweat
  • Wear sunscreen, bring a hat and use a long sleeve shirt. If there are no clouds, then the trail will be direct sunlight for a good portion of the day
  • Pack a snack to enjoy at the top. There is a picnic table to rest, eat and take in the views
  • Pack an adequate amount of water

Hard Core Hiking

Four Falls

What we love about it: This hike is challenging & adrenaline pumping! We recommend that you hire a guide for the best experience (we highly recommend Holo Holo Maui Tours) . There are many false trails along the way, but more importantly the locals know how to read the weather. This is not a maintained trail, but it is a relatively short in distance– just a couple miles in & out. There is a wide variety of obstacles such as stream crossings, rope assistance in steep areas, waterfall scaling, ladders, swimming to reach the other side of the trail, jumping, etc.

Local Tips:

  • Do not attempt on your own. Location is difficult to find and there are many false trails
  • Flash Floods occur frequently in the area, especially during the winter. Hire a guide to ensure safety
  • Wear clothing & shoes that can get wet & muddy
  • Bring water, a snack & mosquito repellent
  • Not for the faint of heart. Experienced hikers only please

Maui is filled with incredible sights and we hope you take the time to enjoy one of this beautiful hikes on you trip!

Maui Local Hikes, Maui Experts, Hiking in Maui, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation RentalPhoto courtesy Holo Holo Maui Tours

Deep Sea Fishing with Bomboy's Toy urn:uuid:c5f76493-ae62-a5e2-ac14-c4df6c1c3260 2018-01-05T11:17:24-07:00 On our recent tour to inspect our Big Island vacation homes, we booked a deep-sea fishing tour with our friend and expert fisherman, Bomboy. Bomboy and his staff took us on a Hawaiian adventure, complete with a immaculate boat, state-of-the-art fishing equipment, and outstanding company!

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue Marlin

Join us as we go out to sea in search of the famous Blue Marlin!

The trip starts in the early-morning hours before the sun makes it debut, as you sleepily board the Bomboy’s Toy vessel. Bomboy and his friendly staff, Jason and Ikaika are all-smiles as they greet you and welcome you onto the boat. We jumped on board, along with our water and food for the day ready to catch some fish!

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinFishing trips start bright and early, before the sunrise!

Bomboy's Toy is a 38’ Bertram classic sportfisher that has been cruising the Kona coast for generations.  Rebuilt in 2013, this vessel guarantees a comfortable and enjoyable day of fishing.  From the spacious flybridge, breezy deck or the shaded cabin, there is more than enough seating for your entire party of up to 6 guests on your private charters.

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinBomboy flashing some Aloha spirit from the Captains seat

There were eight of us on the boat, including Bomboy and his crew, and we had PLENTY of space to relax and even take an early morning nap as we cruised out to sea.

Bomboy's Toy is tournament ready, outfitted with IGFA legal 130# test tackle and experienced crew.  For experienced fisherman, this is the REAL deal.  They can also help you and your family or friends plan tailored trips that work for any group.  For those who don’t want to fish but would like to experience the beauty of the Hawaiian ocean waters, this boat is a great venue for whale watching, sunrises over Mauna Kea, or a sunset wine cruise.  

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue Marlin

Kona is known for large Blue Marlin at any time of the year, but Bomboy and his crew are not limited to monsters.  When dinner fish are the target, you can try for ono, mahi mahi, short bill spearfish, striped marlin, and even some other surprises.

Bomboy is not just any fisherman in Hawaii. He is part of a long history of fishermen of the Llanes family and is famous for his lures, especially the “green stick.” Not only will Bomboy put you on the meet, he will enrich you with the stories of traditional Hawaii! A creative and well-known lure maker, Bomboy is warm and friendly, and is more than happy to share his Hawaiian history and tell you about his beloved Ohana.

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue Marlin

The day is full of ups and downs as you patiently wait for fish to bite. Just as you start to relax and dose off, BAM a marlin hooks and the action begins. Bomboy, Jason and Ikaika are quick to the draw as they set you up to real in the monsters. I was responsible for bringing in the bait fish, and let me tell you, it was not easy!!

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue Marlin

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinIkaika and Jason are  both Pro's and quick to give you the professional tips on reeling in the catch

Ikaika was at the ready to help me reel in this Marlin-bait. After what felt like 100 pounds of reeling in, I was surprised to learn I was just getting started. Admittedly, I thought I would hand off the reel to the pros, but I was given a little pep-talk by Bomboy himself. The Hawaiian leaned in and quietly said “no excuses,” and I knew I was bringing the fish all the way in.

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinMe and Bomboy with our catch!

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinHigh-fives after our first catch

After about 10 minutes, I was elated to see the gorgeous bait-fish that I muscled in all by myself. With the encouragement from Bomboy himself, I was proud to bring it in and surprised at how difficult it was, but Bomboy’s words of encouragement definitely kept me going.

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue Marlin Villa Specialist Todd Tolson is happy on the Hawaiian Pacific!

On this trip, we were lucky enough to hook not one, but TWO Marlin (did we mention Bomboy was the best)?? However, we were unlucky enough to lose both (you better bring your A-game on this boat)! Often the fish are released to swim another day, as it's about the thrill catching one of these monsters and winning the fight. 

One of the highlights of the trip is fisherman Jason Kunewa, a local Hawaiian who is not only a professional fisherman, but a seasoned drone pilot. Once you hook the Marlin, Jason launches the drone to capture the action on film offering proof that you hooked a big one for folks at home. 

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinBomboy stearing his toy!

Bomboy and his crew provide a world-class experience for experienced and novice fisherman alike. The Exotic Estates team had a great time and we can’t wait to get out with Bomboy again!

Locals tip – book this tour early on during your stay so you can enjoy the fresh fish throughout your vacation!

Big Island Vacation Rentals, Big Island Concierge, Big Island Deep Sea Fishing, Bomboys Toy, Blue MarlinBeautiful views from Bomboy's Toy

Take it from us and book your custom deep-sea fishing trip with Bomboy and his crew. You won’t regret it! Contact our local and expert concierge, Sarah, to book your private fishing experience.

Photos courtesy of Jason Kunewa and Bomboy’s Toys


Written by Shanon Searls

Birds-Eye View of the Big Island with Paradise Helicopters urn:uuid:4d3ba05f-fecc-d359-96f0-7de27efddba2 2018-01-05T11:17:15-07:00 While on the Big Island touring our luxury vacation homes, we booked an early-morning tour with Paradise Helicopters to get a birds-eye view of this massive and beautiful island. Dubbed by the Travel Channel as “The hottest helicopter ride on earth,” this was truly an unforgettable experience.

Read on for a sneak-peak of this adventure while we fly over and around the stunning landscapes of Big Island. From towering mountains, active volcanoes, lush forests, and even a little farmland, we suggest that everyone start off their trip with this up-close and personal expedition of Hawai’i!

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helictopers, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours

The famously erupting Kilauea Volcano 

Founded in 1997, Paradise Helicopters is an award-winning, veteran-owned company that is widely recognized for their safety practices and exclusive tours. From the moment you walk in the door, you can feel the Ohana vibe and their staff is dedicated to making you feel welcome and safe while they walk you through all of the procedures and what to expect from your flight. Even those who are afraid of flying will feel at ease with this outstanding team.

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, HiloParadise Helicopters amazing staff greeting us at the door

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helictopers, Hawaiian Helicopter ToursPre-flight checks, getting ready to take off!

Paradise offers air tours and charter flights from the Kalaeloa Airport base operation near the Ko Olina resort area, and Turtle Bay Resort on Oʻahu; from Lānaʻi Airport serving the Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi; and from Hilo and Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi. We took the “Experience Hawai’I” tour and left from the Kona airport which was only about 20-minutes’ drive from our Exotic Estates vacation home.

Paradise also provides specialty flights on an authentic WWII aircraft through Pearl Harbor Warbirds on Oʻahu, the only tour in a Warbird that flies over historic Pearl Harbor. 

Paradise only employs the BEST Pilots, which becomes obvious the moment you take flight. Our trip was incredibly smooth to the very end, when our Pilot, Ryan, landed us feather soft.

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter ToursOur incredible pilot, Ryan, navigating over the Big Island

With two former Marine One (Presidential) pilots, and eight Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (the Marine “Top Gun”) graduates (two of whom served as course instructors, the pilots are Paradise are armed with decades of experience in a variety of conditions throughout the world). 

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours Me, Ryan, and Exotic Estates Founder and CEO Tyler Coons, enjoying the sweet ride (I was lucky enough to get co-pilot seat)!

Paradise conducts training annually, and all pilots must pass a Federal Aviation Administration flight check. To ensure your safety, Paradise also brings in outside professional instructors to evaluate and train their pilots in the latest techniques and information. In addition, they know Hawaiʻi – its geology, culture, and history – so they can provide guests with more than just amazing views.

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter ToursThe beautiful and other-wordly landscape as we approach the Kilauea Volcano

As a result, our experience was outstanding!

We started our tour from the Kona airport, and from there flew straight towards the peaks of Mauna Kea.  As we watch the landscape drastically change, Ryan walked us through a bit of violent volcano history as we hovered low over the ground. The scenery is almost like being transported to another world with desolate black and brown rocks as the base to towering mountains and slowly moving fog and clouds. 

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours

Seeing the active volcano and lava was truly breathtaking. I am sure many of us dream of lava as a kid as we play the famous “don’t touch the hot lava” game. It’s pretty magical to see this magical fiery flow come to life!

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, Volcano, Lava

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, Volcano, LavaFlowing lava from Kilauea Volcano - check out that bright red color!

Although we came on the tour to see the lava, we were pleasantly surprised by the rest of the scenery. Our Pilot, Ryan, continued the history lesson as we flew through the island and alongside the green and lush Hilo Coast. We were met with massive waterfalls that delicately plunged to earth from the tops of the Hawaiian cliffs. It’s hard to describe the beauty in words, so we did our best to capture this stunning sight on film!

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, HiloThe beautiful Hilo coastline with stunning waterfalls as tall as the eye can see!

Ryan also pointed out an old plane crash (everyone survived) of one of the few remaining B-18 "Bolo" Bombers from WW2. The Army originally contemplated dismantling the crashed Bolo and packing the pieces out on mules. However, the terrain encountered soon convinced them that this would be impossible, and the plane was abandoned to the jungle.

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, Hilo, Plane Crash, WW2Old plane crash of the B-18 "Bolo" bomber from WW2

As you end the tour, you will fly over the adorable western town of Waimea and alongside the coast of Kona. If you let your pilot know which resort you are staying in, he can help you spot the general location of your vacation home!

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, WaimeaWaimea Town and rolling green hills that surround

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, Hilo

Finally, if you are lucky (and we were), you might spot the majestic humpback whales as they soar through the Pacific.

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter Tours, HiloHumpack Whales - Mom and baby out on their daily stroll of the warm Hawaiian Pacific

If we haven’t already convinced you to take the tour of a lifetime with Paradise Helicopters, have we mentioned their philanthropic and sustainable tourism ventures?! Paradise is the first helicopter-tour company in Hawai‘i to be awarded a Sustainable Tourism Certification from the nonprofit Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association (HEA), for 2017-2018. This designation recognizes the company’s “commitment to protect Hawai‘i’s unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel,” the HEA said. 

Exotic Estates, Big Island Vacation Rentals, Paradise Helicopters, Hawaiian Helicopter ToursAll smiles after our amazing flight, thanks to Ryan and Paradise for our safe and exhilarating adventure!

Paradise is also focused on the Hawaiian communities and the environment and has operated flights for invasive-species identification and eradication, watershed rehabilitation, firefighting and tree planting since 1999 in support of the preservation and conservation of Hawaiʻi’s forests. In 2017, they launched a Carbon Offset Program to support the reforestation of native trees in Hawaiʻi through Legacy Carbon. Under the program, guests can opt to purchase certified carbon credits that will offset the environmental impact of their flight. WOW!

Take the experience of a lifetime with Paradise Helicopters!

Written by Shanon Searls

Perfect Day on the Big Island urn:uuid:48520a40-ae0b-d4b6-0cb4-bab1f49e1eb9 2018-11-16T04:53:22-07:00 The aptly named Big Island is a beautifully diverse landscape that is like none other of the Hawaiian Islands. From volcanoes, to black-sand beaches, and even a classic western-style town, the Big Island has plenty to offer for those looking for the perfect vacation in paradise!

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

The Big Island is beautiful all year round, but the best months to visit are between September and November. This is a great time to enjoy the beautiful weather and take advantage of lower rates. Temperatures do remain constant throughout the year and usually show in the high 70s or low 80s. 

On our recent tour of our luxury Big Island, as part of our regular villa inspection trips, I had the opportunity to explore the best of what this gorgeous island has to offer in one amazing day! From old fishing harbors, to snowcapped peaks, to sandy beaches, even the most discerning traveler will love this Hawaiian underdog.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

The Big Island is twice as large as the other Hawaiian Islands combined and its dramatic terrain is sure to surprise you!  When you first land in Kailua-Kona, you will notice lava rock surrounding a vast landscape that includes a mix of tropical paradise and country brush.

To kick off this amazing day, I booked a tour with Paradise Helicopters to get a birds-eye glimpse what the island has to offer.  To say this hour-long flight was breathtaking is an understatement!  Paradise Helicopters and their amazing team provided an unforgettable experience and tour of this massive paradise.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

We started our tour from the Kona airport, and from there flew straight towards the peaks of Mauna Kea.  As we watch the landscape drastically change, our wonderful pilot, Ryan, walked us through a bit of violent history as we hovered low over the ground.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

As you fly through the heart of Hawai’i, you can’t help but notice how aliens landscape seems.  Beautiful fog and clouds whisk by and the ground becomes darker still as you approach the famous Kilauea Volcano.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

It’s truly like nothing you’ve ever seen, unless you're a volcanologist, and is sure to be a highlight of your Big Island experience.  As a kid who used to make-believe with lava, it’s pretty amazing to see this childhood folklore come to life! 

Although you are flying fast in a helicopter, the amazing pilot at Paradise will slowly circle around the lava flow in both directions to allow front-row viewing for every passenger.  Once everyone has had a few minutes to take in the scenery, you will continue your journey to the Hilo side, where you will find the awe-inspiring landscape of massive waterfalls and cliffs.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

We even spotted one of our favorites from the Big Island Collection, Water Falling Villa!

Exotic Estates Big Island Vacation Rentals

To end the tour, Paradise will take you over the gorgeous resort where you might even spot your Exotic Estates Vacation Villa. Find out where all the secret beaches are and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some whales!

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

You will land from your tour around 9 AM, perfect timing with the whole day ahead of you.  For more details on our tour with Paradise Helictopers and how to book, click here.

Now that you have seen the Waipio Valley from the air, you can head over with your rental car for an up close and personal view.  There is a plethora of hikes for all ages and abilities and this is the perfect way to get some exercise and enjoy incredible scenery in solitude. Click here for a list of hikes.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

On your way home from Waipio Valley, make a stop at Waimea for lunch.  Unlike any other place on the Island of Hawai’i, Waimea is known as “paniolo,” which means Hawaiian cowboy. The landscape is full of rolling green pastures and is home to cattle, Cowboys, and ranches.  This Little historic town is home to a thriving community filled with delicious local food and culture.  We made a stop at the Big Island BrewHaus to enjoy a taste of the island.

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic EstatesTap line-up at the Big Island BrewHaus

For the beautiful sunset, one of our favorite big Island spots is Mauna Kea Beach.  Although the neighboring Hapuna Beach is also popular, we prefer Mauna Kea for the full-service beach experience that can be had for guests (villa renters included) who are staying in the Mauna Kea resot.  Parking is usually easy to find and is just a short walk to the golden-sand beach.  This is a great place to relax for two and is also great for young ones who want to jump in the water!

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic EstatesSunset at Mauna Kea Beach

Finally, one of our favorite nighttime activities is snorkeling with the Manta Rays! This is awe-inspiring experience. The Mantas come out at night to feed on the plankton and there are plenty of tour companies willing to take you out. No matter which company you choose, they all usually go to one of two spots, where they equip you with wetsuits and snorkeling gear. Once you arrive, you will jump into the water and swim to a designated surf board. Each board has a handle for everyone and you will patiently await the majestic manta. Due to the nature of these amazing gliding giants, sightings aren’t always guaranteed but most companies offer a second trip if you don’t get lucky the first time.

Underwater shot - waiting for the Mantas

Hawaii Experiences is a great choice and they offer a laid-back vibe and quick ride to check out the rays.


Unfortunately, there’s not enough time in the day to experience all that the big Island has to offer! Luckily, we stayed for a few extra days and got to experience a Hawaiian deep sea fishing excursion with famous Hawaiian fisherman, Bomboy. Here is a sneak peak of our trip, for more details click here. 

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

From fiery volcanoes too relaxing resorts, the Big Island has a diverse landscape that is sure to plese. It's not surprising why this island is fast becoming a favorite with visitors to the Hawaiian Islands. Be sure to include the island of Hawai’i in your itinerary next year!

Big Island, Vacation Villas, Exotic Estates

Cute goats freely roam the lava rock

Written by Shanon Searls

Hanalei Bay, Kauai urn:uuid:ee8c19d0-dad5-5f07-a25f-98544b27dfe7 2018-01-05T11:15:37-07:00 Located on the beautiful north shore of Kauai, the adorable town of Hanalei is right at the center of Hanalei Bay. A much more relaxed-local vibe then it’s neighboring Oahu, Kauai is the peaceful Hawaiian island that you might be looking for.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

Hanalei town has a family-oriented vibe that invites tourists to enjoy the lush green landscape and beautiful beaches. Spanning over two miles of gold-sand beaches, this beach town is beaming with aloha spirit and we invite you on a tour with us to check it out!

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

Depending on where you rented your Kauai Villa, Hanalei Bay is only a 5-10 minutes’ drive north or south. If you’re in the mood for a work out, you can ride your bike in the early morning hours, but beware the small amount of room on the road. Depending on the time of day, there is minimal traffic between Princeville and Hanalei.

It will be obvious when you arrive downtown as you are greeted by a short strip of local shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. At the center of the strip you will find a large parking lot, which depending on the time of day, offers a few open spots and is the perfect place to start.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

In the early hours of the day the town is still sleepy, but it’s the perfect time to catch the morning rain clouds and enjoy a nice warm brew. The Hanalei Bread company opens bright and early at 7 am and serves freshly brewed coffee, home-baked bread, and delicious locally sourced juices. My favorite was the green goddess.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

After you get your coffee, make a stop at the grocery store to pick up breakfast for the hungry crew back home. We love the Hanalei Harvest Market but you will also find a more conventional grocery store right across the street. On the beach side of the strip, there is a small mall with restaurants and you will also find a few local fast-food shops. When it’s time for lunch, bring down the family and there is a unique place for every taste. Just around the corner there is a collection of local food trucks that is sure to please any palate!

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

After lunch, take a walk to the beach and enjoy the warm Hawaiian sand beneath your toes! Kauai is known as the garden isle, so take some time to appreciate the gorgeous flora and fauna around you.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

Around Hanalei Bay you will find plenty of fun activities that the entire family can enjoy. For the adventurous type and if the conditions are right, grab a boogie board or even a surf board and let the salt water take you for a ride! Or, enjoy one of Kauai’s most famous hikes, the Kalalau Trail. This scenic hike is famous for its inspiring views of the surrounding sea-cliffs and valleys. Be sure to plan the entire day for this shoes weren't quite right for it ;)

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

Along the way you will find Haena Beach, which features a stretch of white-sandy beaches and underground tunnels. Make a fun day of relaxing by the beach after a few tours of exploring the tunnels. Although you can swim at these beaches, beware of large waves in the winter as they can be extremely dangerous! Always be sure to check with a lifeguard if in doubt.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates

For those who are experienced surfers, Kauai is known for its year-round sets. We caught a local surfer right before he went out in 10+, happy to cheese for the camera.

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates, Kauai Surfing, Old Surfer

The North Shore of Kauai is full of Hawaiian spirit and is one of our favorite destinations for a quiet getaway with the family. If you are looking to enjoy Hawaii like the locals, but in the comfort of your luxury private villa, take a tour of our Kauai collection today!

hanalei bay, Kauai Villas, Exotic Estates


Written by Shanon Searls

Big Island Black Sand Beaches - Where to Find Them urn:uuid:6dcae830-5066-2409-eaef-810e21338d37 2019-11-18T16:57:59-07:00 The Big Island's Black Sand Beaches

The Big Island of Hawaii is home to many natural wonders, from snow-capped mountains in the winter to towering waterfalls. But it is the island's volcanic activity that is perhaps its most famous quality and biggest draw. Most people who research Hawaii have seen images of the Big Island's famed black-sand beaches, which are a direct product of volcanic eruptions.

We'll introduce you to two of the most famous  black sand beaches on the island and show you the benefits of helicopter touring. 

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Waipio Valley Black Sand Beach

Big Island Beaches by Helicopter

Big Island - Lay of the Land

A reminder that the Big Island covers nearly 4,000 square miles, measuring more than 100 miles from north to south. The map below helps to give you some perspective on distances between the beaches covered in this article and the resort areas of Hualalai, Waikoloa, Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea on the Kohala Coast. 

Big Island of Hawaii Map with ResortsBig Island Map - Resorts & Black Sand Beaches

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

The Big Island of Hawaii is famous for Kilauea volcano and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The park is a true geologic wonder for visitors. Sometimes, the lava flows generated the Big Island's volcanos have met the blue Pacific, creating luxurious black sand beaches. 

One of the most famous and popular black sand beaches is Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.  The beach is, per its name, composed of exotic jet-black sand. The sand is somewhat coarse, but feels wonderful under the foot. Here is a close-up of the sand, you can see it's more grainy than the fine sand found on most beaches.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Black Sand - John Di Rienzo

With coconut palms ringing the beach and a gorgeous pond with lily pads fringed by lush tropical vegetation, this beach has a remote, stark and uniquely Hawaiian beauty.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Palms - John Di Rienzo

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Lily Pads - John Di Rienzo

Getting to Punalu’u

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is located on the southeastern coast of the Hawaii Island, aka the Big Island (See map above). The beach is remote, at around 67 miles south of Kailua-Kona. If you are staying in a vacation home in Hualalai, Waikoloa, Mauna Lani or Mauna Kea resorts on the Kohala Coast north of Kailua-Kona, the beach is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive. Punalu’u is around an hour south of Hilo.

Driving from Kailua-Kona, you will pass through the Kona coffee farms, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and landscapes of staggering beauty. 

The coffee farms are located high up on the slopes of Mauna Loa, and you may even smell coffee roasting as you drive through the area. Some farms operate stands on the side of the road where you can stop and purchase coffee directly from the producers.

Tip: if you really want to visit coffee farms and purchase coffee from them, do not go on a Sunday. We drove through the area on a Sunday and most of the stands were closed!

Still, the ride is scenic and traveling on Hawaii Highway 11 (Mamalahoa), you will climb quite high on the slopes of Mauna Loa and be able to enjoy scenic views of the coastline below.

An Eerie Beauty

Passing though Volcanoes National Park, the landscape is defined unique vegetation and high peaks, which mingled with the clouds as we passed. In contrast to the arid lava fields of the Kohala Coast, these lava fields are full of life. This side of the Big Island is wet and green, with big trees and the type vegetation found on the other Hawaiian islands.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Black Sand Shoreline - John Di Rienzo

Because of the Big Island's size and the amount of time that it takes to get to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, you get the feeling that you are driving to one of the most remote places on the planet.

Fun Fact: Driving to Punalu’u you will pass the southernmost tip of Hawaii at spot called Ka Lae, which is  also the southernmost point in the United States. This not to be confused with Key West, which is the southernmost point in the Continental US.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

At Punalu’u, you will see signs posted asking people to give the Hawaiian sea turtles their space. The beach is a haven for them, and there were five large turtles lounging on the sand when we visited in December. They seem oblivious to onlookers and are a treat for visitors. 

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles - John Di Rienzo

Swimming at Punalu’u

The water was brisk when we visited in December, but also very refreshing. There were waves at the shoreline, which is rocky at the water’s edge. For this reason, we would recommend bringing reef walkers or other shoes to ensure you don’t hurt your feet. Once in, the sight of the black sand beach and the palms from the water is quite special. 

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Shore break - John Di Rienzo

Beyond the shore, several visitors were snorkeling, apparently taken by the tropical marine life that dwells just offshore.

This beach is not to be missed for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind Hawaiian experience. Black sand beaches are famous but relatively rare in Hawaii, so do your best to take a road trip down to this beautiful and remote shoreline the next time you are on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach - John Di Rienzo

Waipio Valley Black Sand Beach

Located in the northeastern portion of the island, just over 100 miles north of Punulu'u, is the gorgeous Waipio Valley (See map above). Visiting the Waipio Valley is like taking a step back in time. Of historic importance to ancient Hawaiians, the valley is lush, with waterfalls streaming down its valley walls and tumbling into the ocean along a gorgeous black-sand. The sand is not as dark as at Punulu'u (Perhaps more a slate gray).

If you're staying in one of the resorts on the Kohala Coast, the Waipio Valley is a an easy and rewarding day trip. Taking Route 19, you climb up the slopes of Mauna Loa to the historic ranching community of Waimea.

Waimea (not to be confused with with Waimea Bay on Oahua) is a charming old town with a brewery and cute restaurants, as well as chains common to most U.S. Mainland towns, such as Starbucs and CVS.  Waimea is a great spot for lunch or dinner. From Waimea, you will drive down the other side of the "saddle" through cloud-filled pastures, and eventially land on the eastern shore's Hamakua Coast, where the Waipio Valley is located. This part of the Big Island is wetter than the sunny and dry Kohala Coast, so expect some cloud cover.

Getting down to the valley floor requires planning. You can either hike in or take a tour with a four-wheel drive vehicle. This beach is more remote than others and waters can be rough, so please exercise caution if you choose to hike down.

Waipio Valley Black Sand BeachWaipio Valley Black Sand Beach, Big Island of Hawaii

Helicopter Tours of the Big Island & New Black Sand Beaches 

The Big Island was in the news in 2018 year for the destructive volcanic activity that added land to the island’s southern corner. 

Fact: As of November 2019, Kilauea Volcano is not erupting and the air quality on the Big Island is excellent. The volcano had erupted constantly since 1983, which came to an end with the well-publicized destructive eruptions of 2018.

Though the area impacted by the eruption is remote, about 100 miles from the the villas on the Kohala Coast, the eruption created some beautiful and interesting new things to see from the sky. Our friends at Paradise Helicopters shared some photos of new black-sand beaches formed in the wake of the most recent eruption.

New Black Sand Beach - Photo Paradise HelicoptersPhoto Courtesy of Paradise Helicopters

The Best Way to See the Big Island by Helicopter

Helicopter tours of the Big Island have always been a great way to take in the island's varied and expansive terrain. Visitors don’t realize the vast distances associated with this island. To put it into context, the Big Island of Hawaii covers over 4,000 square miles (over 10,000 sq. kms.). At its widest, Hawaii island is nearly 100 miles across.

New Black Sand Beach - Photo Paradise HelicoptersPhoto Courtesy of Paradise Helicopters

Flying above the Big Island you will be able to see the stunning activity around Kilauea Volcano, which is home to the goddess Pele in the Hawaiian culture. Kilauea’s fascinating geographic features and cultural significance make it a must-see attraction. Helicopter tours allow you to take it all in from a bird's perspective.

New Black Sand Beach - Photo by Paradise HelicoptersPhoto Courtesy of Paradise Helicopters

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 

Guests to the Big Island of Hawaii should know that Volcanoes National Park is open folowing the eruptions on 2018. There are even some new tours to be enjoyed, and you can speak with the Exotic Estates’ Concierge about how to take advantage of them.

Our favorite helicopter operator is Paradise Helicopters. We're happy to give them a plug, as they have been in the business of safe helicopter tourism for over 20 years, employing the highest quality pilots and offering the most fascinating tour content.  Many of our guests have rated their Paradise Helicopters tour as a highlight of their trip.

Doors Off Tour - Sarah Mater

They even offer an exciting "doors-off" tour, recently attended by Exotic Estates superstar Concierge, Sarah Mater. 


Big Island Tour - Photo by Shanon SearlsWith a Paradise Helicopters tour, you will get to see more than just madam Pele’s handiwork and black sand beaches. You will see waterfalls that cascade from impossible heights down lush green mountains to the Blue Pacific. You will also see what is one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States, Parker Ranch, home to the paniolo or Hawaiian cowboy. Flying north, up towards the Kohala Coast you will see the world-famous Keck Observatory telescopes sitting atop Mauna Kea, skies permitting.

Big Island Helicopter Tour - Photo by Shanon Searls
During whale season, which is roughly from November through March, you may even be lucky enough to see one or more of these majestic giants from your helicopter window! 

Whales Seen from Big Island Helicopter Tour - Shanon Searls

This island, because of the varied, alien terrain and its geologic activity, has incredible energy that makes it a favorite for many. It’s big, as it's common name refers, and doesn’t feel overcrowded like some of the others islands can feel. The villas that sit astride the island's amazing golf courses are some of the finest in Hawaii.

Fun Fact: In addition to black sand beaches, the Big Island also has a green sand beach!

Vacation Homes On The Big Island

What we love about the Big Island, beyond its obvious natural beauty, is its convenience. The resorts that dot that Kohala Coast contain a great variety of vacation rentals, from affordable condos to ultra-luxury villas. Some villas, like Honu Pani at Mauna Lani, offer private ocean-front access.

Moreover, there are major hotel properties in each of the resort areas, affording villa renters access to resort amenities, such as world-class golf and spas. The resorts also offer supermarkets, restaurants and shopping. You can spend a day exploring the wilder points on the island and then return home to your comfortable, well-serviced vacation rental - or finish off your day with a massage! If you are thinking about renting a home or condo on the Big Island, be sure to check out the many resorts on the Kohala Coast.

Mauna Lani Aloha Villa

Check out our other Exotic Estates Big Island villas and plan your escape to this fascinating, ever-changing island that gives the State of Hawaii is name. If you're dring to figure which part of this island to call home, epsecially because the weather can vary dramatically, a Big Island Guide can be quite handy.

By John Di Rienzo
Director of Marketing

Day Trip to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary urn:uuid:33cb8b60-993d-b014-39b5-5c2d5698e4aa 2018-06-27T11:28:25-07:00 Are you a cat lover? Then you need to check out a kitty paradise on your next visit to Maui. Located on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, a short ferry ride away from Lahaina, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary is the happy home of nearly 600 cats of various colors, shapes and sizes.

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary

Born Out of Need

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary was founded by Lanai resident and cat lover Kathy Carroll.

According to my friendly shuttle driver, who took me from the harbor to the Sanctuary for $10, the cats used to help control the rat population back when Lanai was a leading producer of pineapple. It seems that rats enjoy munching on sweet pineapple stems. The island stopped producing the fruit years ago, the rat population declined, but the cats remained - so the story goes. Also, the island’s Ua’u, native flightless birds, were sitting ducks for these cute little predators.

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Conservation

Enter Kathy. With no vet, animal shelter, or system to take care of the many feral cats that called the island home, Kathy organized a sterilization and housing program. In doing so, she helped take care of her beloved cats and the Ua’u. Thus, the Sanctuary was driven by a desire to protect native species as much as by kitty love.

Because of her efforts, in a little over a decade, Lanai has gone from having no shelter to having a stable home for cats that provides lifelong housing, medical care and much-needed TLC. It’s also become a source of tourist revenue, as visitors will come to visit the Sanctuary and spend the day, and dollars, on the island.

A Happy Place

Spanning over 25,000 square feet, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary provides shelter, food and a playground for the lions of Lanai. Shade trees, kitty condos, obstacle courses, and feline-buffets fill the temperate home of these playful tabbies.

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Condos

Guests of the sanctuary will enjoy the laid-back style and the ability to interact with these happy felines.

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Petting

The operators of the facility could not be more friendly and enthusiastic. For them, it’s truly a labor of love. They know most of the kitties by name and understand their unique personalities. Depending on the time of day, they may give you a box of treats to shake and distribute to during your stay – it’s amazing to see them all come charging when they hear the rattle of the kibbles!

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Maine Coon

For formerly feral cats, they are surprising friendly, the result of having been exposed to so many visitors. On a recent visit to the Sanctuary, we were told one man traveled all the way from Japan just to spend six hours with them. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary has even hosted a wedding. Now that's what you call "cat fancy"!

Nonprofit 501c3 Charity

In 2009, the sanctuary became a nonprofit charity and relocated to a new and better plot of land with access to running water. The main goal: protect cats and endangered birds…and provide a haven for cat lovers!

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Donations

In 2014, executive director, Keoni Vaughn made plans for an expansion which would include a medical system and a high-tech mobile veterinary clinic. Teams were recruited from Oahu and other Hawaiian islands, and over the last few years, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary has expanded to host a cat-family number nearly 600 The goal is to eliminate cat overpopulation on Lanai, and they continue to rescue cats from protected areas where native endangered birds nest.

Featured in Country Living, The Los Angeles Times, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, these "Lanai Lions" are enjoying some fame. Funding for this kitty paradise comes from vacationers who visit the sanctuary and support their mission with a donation, so your visit will make a difference.

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Cute Face

The staff at Lanai Cat Sanctuary believe that cats deserve the highest quality of life possible. Those who are not able to cuddle the cats in person can still make tax-deductible donations via their website  You can also purchase a snazzy T-shirt there.

Open 365 days a year from 10 am to 3 pm, the Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a great little spot for a family outing. No appointment is required and groups any size can stop by for a visit. Bring along a snack and something to drink, and enjoy a fun day full of purring and playing! If you really fall in love, you can even discuss adoption!

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Queenie

Getting to the Lanai Cat Santuary

Getting to Lanai is easy from Maui. Regular ferry service runs between Lahaina and Lanai each day. The crossing takes around 50 minutes and during whale season, November to April, you may even get to enjoy the spectacle of breaching whales on the journey. It costs $30 each way. Tickets can be purchased on a walk-up basis, but it's advised to reserve ahead just to be safe:

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Ferry from Lahaina

You arrive at the port in Lanai and the Lanai Cat Sanctuary is located on the plateau in the center of the island. Lanai City, where most of Lanai's 3,500 residents live, is at 1,600 ft. so it can be pleasantly cool. The Sanctuary is located about two miles from town, near the airport. The Lanai shuttle service will charge you $10 per-person, each way, to go from the port to Lanai City or the Sanctuary. 

Lanai City does have a gallery, shops and restaurants, and there is also accommodation for those who want to spend a night or two on the island. The Four Seasons operates a luxurious hotel on the shoreline, near the harbor. They also own the The Lodge at Keole, up in Lanai City, but it’s closed for renovation as of December 2017. 

John Di Rienzo - Lanai Cat Santuary - Entrance

Visitors are encouraged to leave a tax-deductible donation to help the Sanctuary continue its rescue work and provide life-long care for the cats.

If you like cats, we encourage you to visit Lanai and the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. You’ll be able to play with lots of happy cats and check off a visit to one of the lesser-known Hawaiian islands. Who knows, your next kitty may be waiting for you here at the Sanctuary! 

Aloha from Mongoose Manor urn:uuid:025b375f-ede7-34d5-3e71-a6696518168d 2017-11-28T13:45:52-07:00 The Mongooses of Hawaii

Everybody loves the idea of a Hawaiian vacation home: a private piece of paradise for your family and friends to enjoy for a glorious week or two. One imagines encountering tropical birds and vibrant marine life at the beach. But how about a mongoose?

Mongoose Hawaii, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

Mainlanders renting a Hawaiian vacation villa may see the scampering little creatures in their yard and, mistakenly, identify them as Hawaiian squirrels. In fact, these darting little critters are relations of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Timon.

Both a fun curiosity for visitors and a pest for local environmentalists, this curious and frenetic little creature will likely be seen, at least fleetingly, on any visit to Hawaii and stay at a vacation villa on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.

What is a mongoose?

“Mongoose” is the popular name for 29 of the 34 species in the family Herpestidae. The Small Indian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) is the one people will see in Hawaii. Meerkats like Timon (The Lion King) belong to the species Suricata suricatta. The different species are native to Africa and Asia.

Mongoose Hawaii, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

The small Indian mongoose looks a bit like a weasel, with a pointed nose and rounded ears, and its fur is brownish. It can grow to be 26-inches long, with the male being larger than the female, and has a long body and tail with short legs – but it can dart about at seemingly remarkable speeds! If you ever watched the animated cartoon “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” you will find the real-life version to be very similar in the lightening-speed and keen awareness that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi displays in movie.

Nope, it’s not a squirrel kids!

The mongoose is sometimes mistaken for a squirrel, even though there are no squirrels in Hawaii. This can be a fun factoid to discuss with kids who may think they are seeing the usual little yard critters darting about your vacation home’s backyard. This can be a great way to introduce the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” to young children.

The story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is probably the best-known portrayal of a mongoose. It is part of “The Jungle Book” collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling, and it also inspired a Chuck Jones cartoon made in 1975 (Here’s a clip of the movie on YouTube:

As per the story, the title character was a young mongoose who was nearly killed in a flood. An English family found him and nursed him back to health. Rikki gratefully stayed with the family and protected them from all the venomous serpents in their part of India, particularly the cobras Nag and Nagaina. While king cobras really do look after their eggs as in the story, real mongooses are unfortunately not as friendly as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. They will typically dart around so quickly that it’s hard to focus on them let alone get near them, as the slightest movement will send them running. It goes without saying, as with any wild animal, enjoy mongooses from afar.

However, parents can point out that a squirrel’s eyes are on the side of its head, while a mongoose’s eyes face forward like those of many other carnivores.

A mongoose can also be sometimes mistaken for a rodent aka rat. Rats do run low to the ground like mongooses, but rats are generally nocturnal, while mongooses are active during the day. 

So, how did the Mongoose establish itself in Hawaii?

In short: it was deliberately introduced. The backstory is interesting and cringeworthy from the luxury of our contemporary perspective, and knowledge of the fragile nature of isolated ecosystems. It starts many thousands of miles away, in the Caribbean.

Mongoose Hawaii, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

Back in 1872, a sugar plantation owner imported nine mongooses form India and released them on his plantation in Jamaica in the hopes that they would kill the resident rats. Believing that he had solved his rat problem, the planter published a paper about his mongoose success. Other plantation owners then bought the offspring of his mongooses and released them on several Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Around 10 years later, several sugar companies imported mongooses from the Caribbean and released them on the Big Island, Molokai, Maui, and Oahu (not Kauai). Again, the plantation owners were hoping that the mongooses would kill the pesky rodents damaging their sugar cane crops. While mongooses will make a meal of rats, they will only do so if they encounter them. But remember, since rats often sleep during the day when the mongoose is active, they often do not cross paths. Other animals, however, are not so lucky. 

What does the mongoose eat?

As fans of the Rudyard Kipling story “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” know, some mongoose species are famed for their prowess in killing snakes – including the deadly Cobra! However, the mongoose is an opportunistic predator and carnivore, and, like Rikki Tikki Tavi, seemingly fearless. 

Other items on the mongoose’s menu include insects, other small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The last two are very problematic from an ecological standpoint. Mongooses enjoy eating eggs, including those of sea turtles and ground birds. This is an issue for Hawaii, as sea turtles and many of Hawaii’s birds are endangered. 

The nēnē, a native Hawaiian bird, has been particularly impacted by the mongoose, but conservationists are working hard to help them bounce back, and nēnēs can be seen on many islands, especially Kauai, which is mongoose free…for now.

Mongoose behavior

Unlike their meerkat relatives, the small Asian mongoose is generally solitary, but some males do live in groups that share burrows. Thus, if you see a mongoose at your Maui vacation rental, its roommates and/or relatives are probably close by. 

Mongoose Hawaii, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

Mongooses can live in a wide range of habitats that include coastal areas, farmland, wetlands, grasslands, and forests, be they natural or planted. A mongoose can certainly make its home outside your Maui villa—especially if some other animal left a burrow available. Mongooses generally don’t dig their own burrows, so they help themselves to abandoned dens.

Keep an eye out for these little animals

Mongoose Hawaii, Exotic Estates, Luxury Vacation Rental

When you are relaxing in your Maui, Kauai, or Big Island vacation villa or lounging quietly by the pool, you may be lucky enough to see one these interesting invaders darting across the yard through the windows of your villa, searching the yard for insects. If so, keep still, and enjoy the show!

Food Allergies on a Hawaiian Vacation urn:uuid:531e6c81-b6c1-623f-ba2f-87f375fe43ea 2017-11-27T17:54:35-07:00 When pondering an island paradise, for many people, the Hawaiian Islands shimmer into mind. Hawaii’s got it all, gentile climes, spellbinding sunsets and gorgeous places to stay, including vacation villas.

Most of us travel to Hawaii as an escape from our hectic lives, and the last thing we need or want to deal with on any island is an allergy attack; allergies triggered by eating or inhaling airborne particles from nuts or other irritants are an unfortunate reality for many families. Thankfully, with a little planning, there are ways for parents to help their family avoid tricky situations, even in far off Hawaii.

Flying to Hawaii with Kids with Allergies

Typically, airlines have policies regarding people traveling with food allergies. Before you fly, it is vital that you review and understand an airline’s specific policy. Many airlines flying from the U.S. Mainland to Hawaii will try to accommodate passengers, but none can (or will) guarantee an allergen-free environment.

Flying to Hawaii - John Di Rienzo

For example, as of the writing of this article, United’s policy states,

“…Since we cannot guarantee allergen-free flights, we encourage customers to review any health concerns with their physicians prior to flying.”

There are simply too many factors outside of their control. For instance, they cannot stop passengers from bringing aboard food items that may contain allergens. Nuts are still popular snacks and are all around us when we travel; most airport snack shops sell bags of nuts rights next to the gummy bears. Some airlines may even serve meals that contain offending ingredients.

Most carriers will tell you, and this is good general advice, that you will need to bring your own food if you wish to be certain that the meals you consume onboard will not trigger an allergic reaction. Also, most airlines require passengers to bring their own epinephrine or Epi-pens.

Bottom line: if you are traveling with a child with a severe allergy, the first thing to do is discuss your plans with your family doctor well in advance of your trip. She or he will help you to gain insight on how to prepare for and ultimately enjoy a smooth and scare-free travel experience!

Aside from that, here are few more things to do before you leave for the airport:

  • Make sure you have the proper medication and enough supply, including Epi-pens, inhalers, and antihistamines.
  • Bring an allergy-translation card as well, which you can present to chefs to inform them about any food intolerances.
  • Do not forget antibacterial wipes, which you can use to wipe down strollers, shopping carts, and airplane table tops.
  • Ask the airline to be a part of the pre-boarding group for children or passengers with special needs, so you have enough time for wiping down all the surfaces your family will likely come in contact with during the flight – and nonstop flights reduce the hassle since you’ll only have to prep the area once.
  • Contact your carrier about its meal plans, which you should be able to review on their website. However, it can’t hurt to call ahead and speak with them. You can inform them about your child's unique food requirements.

When on the plane, you can speak to the flight crew about your child's allergy. Sometimes they will make an announcment to alert other passengers about your family's allergy concerns; if you get a nice crew, they may even be able to seat you in a lower-risk, if not nut-free, area.

John Di Rienzo - Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu

Anaphylaxis is scary and can be prevented when traveling, but the burden ultimately falls on us, the traveler and guardian, to ensure that our loved ones are kept safe and sound.

Vacation Homes Are Ideal for Families with Food Allergies

We know that we are biased, but if you are staying at a top-tier of luxury hotel, renting one of our homes is certainly an appealing alternative when a potentially dangerous food allergy is coming on vacation with you; you never have to worry about ingredients sneaking into your food at a villa since you will be able to prepare or monitor the preparation of your family’s favorite dishes during your stay.

There are certainly some beautiful luxury hotels in Hawaii, but there are also plenty of gorgeous homes that offer viable options to these traditional accommodations on each island. Hotels are not the only places in Hawaii with desirable beachfront positions. Besides cozy bedrooms, private bathrooms, and shared-living areas with cool amenities, most of our homes will come with private pools and jacuzzis - and million dollar views!

Exotic Estates Hawaii Vacation Rental

There are Hawaiian vacation homes available for most budgets, from simple cottages to extravagant Hawaiian villas, which are our specialty and will run you around the same price per bedroom as a nice hotel. It's important to convey that the difference is not so much on the overall cost per night, it’s more about the enjoyment of together time and stellar private amenities!

When food allergies and specific dietary needs are an added variable, the hotel vs. vacation home equation begins to look very different. Safe to say, it’s wise to stay somewhere with a kitchen.

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Gemini Palace

With a kitchen at your disposal, you can stop off at a supermarket or Costco on the way to your villa and get all the produce, ingredients and snacks you need for the entire stay. In hotels, you will likely not have the same quality control. Even hotel staff with the best intentions may not be aware of the ingredients or environmental issues.

No $5 Coffees

There is also the annoyance cost factor. We tend not to think about the day-to-day needs that a family has when planning for a trip, focusing instead on the big costs, like rooms and airfare. But, over the course of a vacation, the cost of sodas, snacks and burgers will add up. Pour into the mix beer and wine, and your nightly hotel rate skyrockets.

You may even be able to up your level of vacation home when you consider the savings you’ll enjoy from not paying for all those extras at the hotel.

Here is an example: a large cup of Starbucks coffee at the Sheraton Maui Resort on Kannapali was more than $5 the last time we visited the hotel (in 2015 Read here). You can brew an entire pot in your vacation home for less!

How Do You Ensure Quality? Work with Local Agents Who Inspect Homes for You

One of the benefits of working with a company like Exotic Estates, which has a team in Hawaii who inspects homes, is that you will get a real person to help you select the ideal villa for your family. This is not a budget travel option, but for any family or group looking to rent multiple hotel rooms at a hotel like the Sheraton or Hilton, a villa will likely be more affordable in the end, once you add in the incidentals and nuisance fees, like resort fees, $5 coffees, etc.

Exotic Estates offers luxury vacation rentals across all the Hawaiian Islands. Our most popular island is Maui, with homes located in Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Kihei and Wailea, and we make sure someone on the team sets eyes on them and inspects the property when its brought on and then periodically afterwards.

Exotic Estates Home Inspection Maui

An Advocate for Your Family

The other great aspect of working with Exotic Estates is that you will be teamed up with one of our dedicated Villa Specialists, and assisted throughout your stay by a top-notch Guest Services department. You’ll also have a Concierge on team to help you plan for activities with a special attention to any dietary needs.

Tips on Restaurant Menus and Other Dining Issues in Maui

It’s a lot of fun to explore restaurants on Maui to enjoy local dishes and Hawaii-inspired cuisine. As mentioned above, a food allergy alert card is essential. The card will tell your hosts that your food should not contain any of the ingredients that can trigger an allergic response.

Some restaurants are less risky than others for people with food allergies. When looking for a safe place to eat for your family, here is what Sarah Mater, Lead Concierge for Exotic Estates in Hawaii has to say:

We are fortunate to have a lot of great restaurants that accommodate allergies and dietary needs nowadays and will either have the items listed on the regular menu or have a separate menu that can be requested. Thankfully, nuts are usually mentioned in the plate description. Gluten “allergy” has been big lately and almost all of our private chefs have developed gluten-free menus that are absolutely delicious.  

Almost all luaus now have signs stating ingredients next to each dish at the buffet, so people can avoid certain foods. If the guest has a severe allergy or needs kosher, etc., luaus that can’t accommodate the request at the buffet will cook a separate plate for them.

I make sure when I work with guests with allergies, I call their reservations in rather than do them online to ensure the restaurant is clear on the needs. It can be pretty scary for parents to travel with kids that have had severe allergic reactions, so I make sure to take a bit of extra care and also ensure they know where the nearest urgent care is and how late it’s open, just in case.

Restaurants with Executive Chefs

Mid and high-end restaurants often have an executive chef who is trained and will be willing to speak with you about your child's food requirements.

There are vegan restaurants on Maui, however, some restaurants will serve soy, sesame, and almonds. Call ahead and talk to the manager to discuss your any food intolerances.

If you work through our Concierge, she will call restaurants early and ensure that they are well aware that you will have a family member with a food allergy. Still, homemade meals are better because you prepare the food and you shop for the ingredients yourself.

Private Chefs

Exotic Estates works with Hawaii's best private chef services, such as The Beast & Spoon on Maui. Any private chef service will be able to consult with you before your stay and plan a safe and delicious menu for you and your family. Our Concierge will work with Exotic Estates guests to connect you with the right chef for your family's tastes!

Careful Shopping in Maui

Shopping with a food allergy in mind doesn’t mean you can’t have fun exploring local food items, snacks and ingredients.

Hawaiian Food - Exotic Estates

Hawaiian cuisine does not use peanuts, but macadamia nuts are a Hawaiian favorite. They can show up in lots of things besides desserts. There is also a strong presence of Asian cuisines in Hawaii, including Southeast Asian favorites such as Vietnamese and Thai, which use peanuts and other ingredients that may be dangerous for your family.

As far as locally processed products, just like anywhere else, labels will indicate the presence of peanuts, peanut oil, or peanut butter. They can take on scientific, hard-to-pronounce names – thank goodness for cellphones, google anything you don’t recognize.

Shanon Searls - Kailua Oahu Market - Exotic Estates

Some local shops, like the one in Kailua above, will have homemade island treats and snacks on hand. While the local treats may be allergen free, they may be prepared in areas where nuts and other allergens are present. Classic local convenience-type stores dot the roads on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

There are familiar supermarkets in Hawaii as well. On Maui there is a Safeway in Lahaina and even a Costco located in Kahului, which makes it an easy pitstop after your arrival at the airport. They'll also have fun local products on-hand for you to try.

Shanon Searls - Spam Musubi Foodland Maui

Stocking Services for Hawaiian Vacation Rentals

Of course, Exotic Estates can arrange for stocking services, which will ensure your favorite items are waiting for you at your villa on arrival! Shopping in a new place, especially tropical Hawaii, is fun, and you will find interesting local produce like papaya, passion fruit and mangos at almost every market.

Hawaii Produce - John Di Rienzo

The photo above is from the farmers' market in Kona on the Big Island. You can buy the most delicious papaya and pineapples there. 

If you are looking for farm-fresh produce on Maui, the Farmer's Market at the Olowalu General Store south of Lahaina is a great place to buy locally produced fruits. The store will also have other supplies.

What if You Have an Emergency?

One of the great things for Americans traveling to Hawaii is that your health insurance will work there. However, there are also plenty of Urgent Care centers on all the islands, close to where most people will be staying. Whether you are in a Hawaiian vacation rental or a hotel, just google Urgent Care and you'll see them all listed. It may be a good idea to get a sense of where Urgent Care offices are located on the island you'll be visiting, as well as area hospitals, so that you can easily contact and get to them if needed.

When you have a child with nut allergies, you can travel to far off places and still have a safe and fun time.  Hawaii may be somewhat more user friendly general, paradise without a passport some Americans call it. But unlike other far-off tropical places, Hawaii offers plenty of homes for rent, and English-speaking, American-insurance-friendly medical assistance to help give you peace of mind.

Work With Specialists

Here at Exotic Estates we have a special relationship with Hawaii, as it's where our company started 10 years ago. All the islands have different personalities and features, with beaches galore on Maui, Oahu and Kauai, and a more rugged, volcanic coastline backed by soaring volcanoes on the Big Island. 

You can contact our local Villa Specialists to discuss vacation rental options and get advice on places to dine that they know personally. Aloha and happy travels!

Surf Maui with Waves Hawaii urn:uuid:e6281399-b8b1-2061-2ad8-89210374cab3 2018-11-16T04:55:01-07:00 Exotic Estates works with some of Maui's best activity providers, and if you are looking to catch waves while on vacation in Hawaii, you will want to visit the only Billabong surf and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) school in Maui - Waves Hawaii! We're pleased to provide you with this short description of their services. Led by world-famous big-wave surfer Inaldo Vieira and Billabong Surfer Girl, Val Frey, this surf school is like no other and you will be learning from true pros.

Waves Surf School Maui Exotic Estates Luxury Vacation Rentals

Waves Hawaii surf instructors are world class and love sharing their passion for the ocean with those who want to learn how to surf or improve their surfing. If you have ever dreamed of surfing Hawaiian waves, Waves Hawaii should be on your Hawaii travel itinerary

Offering surf lessons, surf camps, surf safari’s and stand-up-paddle tours, you are sure to find the perfect option for you and your family. You will have memories that will last a lifetime and have the photos to prove it! 

Maui Surf Lesson

Beginner lessons take place at Kalama Park, where the waves are gentle and the water is shallow, providing the perfect conditions for first-timers to catch their first wave.

Maui Surf Safari

The Wave's Hawaii Surf Safari is a 3-4 day surf adventure that hits breaks around Maui and gives you a taste of some of the island's best surf spots. Whether you are a beginner looking for one-on-one training or you want to arrange a private surf excursion for your family - or milestone birthday -  you are guaranteed to improve your skills and have a great time with the Waves Hawaii team.

Waves Surf School Maui Exotic Estates Luxury Vacation Rentals

The surf safari includes boards, rash guards, reef shoes, and an instructor for the day. After your surf-sesh each day, eat lunch together while you watch a video of your lesson and breakdown your new skills. This is one of the best ways to improve your surfing and experience the different breaks on Maui.

Maui Stand Up Paddle Glow Sunrise and Sunset Tour

Have you been wanting to try Stand Up Paddle aka SUP boarding? Now is your chance to enjoy this fun water sport that is taking the world by storm, and that you can enjoy on a lake or elsewhere.  Waves Hawaii will take you to calm beaches where you can learn to paddle and maybe even get a chance to see turtles and whales (in the right season) while you cruise across the gorgeous Wailea coastline.

Waves Surf School Maui Exotic Estates Luxury Vacation Rentals

This tour is geared toward the early-riser.  You will realize it was worth it when you are snorkeling in the crystal blue waters of the Pacific. This is a great excursion for the whole family, and, after a brief ocean safety briefing, you will be ready to hit the water and experience the magic!

3-day Maui Surf Camp

This private surf camp takes place at Kalama Park for three days and is designed to take your surf skills to the next level. You will experience two hours of lessons each day and you will also have access to your own surfboard, rash guard and reef shoes. There is also a water photographer to send you home with lasting memories. 

Billabong Girls Surf Trips

The Billabong Girls Surf Trips are enjoyed by young women all over the world and is the perfect camp for female surfers of any level. This unique experience is for like-minded ladies that want to travel and surf in warm waters to exotic locations and meet new friends, get rad gear, and be a part of the women’s surf movement.

Billabong Girls Surf Trip

Women of all ages can improve their skills and make friends. Travel with world-class instructors around globe and catch some of the most beautiful waves on earth. All you have to do is pack your bikini and book your flight, and Waves Hawaii will take care of the rest.

Val Frey is a surfer girl from Hawaii and travels with the group. A true ambassador of women’s surfing and of the Aloha Spirit, Val and Waves Hawaii have teamed up to bring these dreams surf trips to life and make them available to women of all ages and ability. Val loves sharing her joy and knowledge of the ocean with other women, and is excited to promote women’s surfing and surf travel.

Waves Surf School Maui Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals

Each location has advanced and beginner waves so you can be surfing a nice beginner wave or a fast and hollow reef. Either way, this would be an amazing way to reach your goals and make friends for life.  

All photos courtesy of Waves Hawaii. 

Written by Shanon Searls

What's Winter Really Like in Hawaii? urn:uuid:81bac0c4-4d0b-fbf7-5fe4-504214771e07 2018-11-15T09:59:45-07:00 Beat the Cold Weather Blues with Winter Travel to Hawaii

Hawaii is a lovely and mesmerizing area of the world, and has been a top vacation destination for almost a century. Whether one chooses an Exotic Estates Maui villa or oceanfront condo, this beautiful island state offers something for all budgets and lifestyles.

If you plan to travel to this enchanting area to escape the cold and snow, you will be pleased to discover that the weather in Hawaii does not change very much throughout the year. This makes it an ideal location, regardless of when you choose to book your getaway. Below are some essential facts about Hawaii's weather, as well as some tips about its most popular attractions and activities!

Seasons and Weather

Hawaii has only two seasons, which Hawaiian natives have named Hoolio and Kau. These refer to winter and summer, respectively, but even during Hawaii winter weather, temperatures rarely drop below 75°F, which means the island offers an ideal climate for most individuals year-round. 

John Di Rienzo - Exotic Estates View from Maui to Lanai

The warmest months are May through October, with an average daytime temperature of 86°F. From November to April, weather winter Hawaii temperatures typically range from 75 to 80°F, with the rainiest months being March and April. Rainfall is less common on the southern and western coasts of most Hawaiian Islands.

On some islands, such as Oahu, it may be raining on one side of the island, but you can simply travel to the other side and find abundant sunshine. In this way, you are virtually guaranteed sunny weather, if you are willing to do a bit of beach hopping or just enjoy the beautiful island weather as it comes!

Activities and Attractions

Exotic Estates activities and attractions

Before you book your Exotic Estates villa, you should give some thought to the types of attractions and activities you enjoy ensuring you choose the best location. Although you can always contact one of our villa specialists to help you plan a custom Hawaiian holiday, the following are some favorite activities among visitors and locals alike.

Whale Watching

Hawaii is an ideal state for the sport of whale watching. It is also the only state in the US where humpback whales can be seen traveling with their young. The best time to spot whales is between November and May, but peak season for this activity is January through March. Some of the best spots to watch for whales are Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai, the Sanctuary Education Center on Maui, and the Halona Blowhole on the eastern shore of Oahu.

Whale Watching Exotic Estates

A couple of our favorite homes for enjoying whale watching are Turtle Beach Villa and Lahaina Oceanfront Estate. Both offer exquisite ocean views and guests can take in the picturesque sights from sunrise to sunset!

Exotic Estates Turtle Beach VillaExotic Estates Turtle Beach Villa

Exotic Estates Lahaina Oceanfront EstateExotic Estates Lahaina Oceanfront Estate

Year-Round Blossoms

If you are a flower lover, you will be thrilled with the island's lush, tropical greenery and flowers. Even during Hawaii winter weather, tropical flowers bloom continuously, making a walk through one of the state's many parks and gardens an ideal activity.

Exotic Estates Flora and Fauna

Our Manoa Canopy Villa offers the perfect escape to a lush Hawaiian valley behind Waikiki and is a great home for those looking for a secluded Oahu vacation home that is close to town yet surrounded by tropical forest. Walking into this unique home, the first striking features is the entry atrium, complete with a tree growing in the space, reaching up towards the floors above!

Exotic Estates Manoa Canopy VillaExotic Estates Manoa Canopy Villa

Every Exotic Estates vacation villa features native tropical plants and flowers and renting a private villa allows you to enjoy the beatiful scents and sights all to yourself!

private villa lemon tree maui exotic estatesMarketing Manager, Shanon Searls, enjoying fresh limes at a private villa on Maui


Even though Hawaii is not about snow and typical winter scenes (except at the top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island at over 13,000 ft!), winter holiday festivals are still very popular on many of Hawaii's islands. This is because weather winter Hawaii is so mild it is like summer in other parts of the country. For this reason, outdoor festivals can be held during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other traditional American holidays.

Christmas In Hawaii with Exotic Estates

Among the most popular is the yearly Honolulu City Lights Festival, which takes place in the center of Honolulu from the beginning of December to the beginning of January each year. Here, you can enjoy a 50-foot-high Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights and a beautiful display of wreaths and community decorated trees inside the town hall. Hawaii is also a terrific place to welcome in the New Year, with festivals and celebrations taking place in virtually every major city and town.


The winter Hawaii offers to surfers is a definite crowd pleaser, as the waves from January through March are not only exciting to watch, but ideal for surfing competitions. The North Shore of Oahu is legendary for its large waves and it still attracts some of the world's best surfers. Check out the following locations if you plan to hon your surfing skills while visiting Hawaii:

Hookipa, Maui – stay at our Maui Winds to be close to some of the best waves in Maui!

Exotic Estates Maui Winds

North Shore, Oahu – Sunset Beach House can accommodate up to 12 people and features 20,000 sq. ft.!

Exotic Estates Sunset Beach House

Our Waiki Surf Villa is close to downtown and is the perfect option for those looking to catch some waves and be close to the downtown culture of Waikiki!

Waikiki Surf VillaExotic Estates Waikiki Surf Villa

Hanalei, Kauai – Our Hanalei Bay House is only two minutes’ walk from the Hanalei Bay Peir

Exotic Estates Surf House Kauai


The Arizona Memorial

Arizona memorial exotic estates luxury vacation rentals

If the weather winter Hawaii offers has drawn you to Oahu, consider visiting The Arizona Memorial when sightseeing around the island. A trip to this location is especially enjoyable when you take a guided tour. This is because native touring guides provide educational facts about the impressive monument and intriguing points about its history. 

Iolani Palace

Located in Honolulu, the Iolani Palace is a wonderful attraction for those with even the slightest interest in Hawaiian history. Built in the late 1800s during King David Kalakaua's reign, the Iolani Palace is a National Landmark, and regarded by numerous historians and archaeologists as the United States’ sole royal structure.

Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation Exotic Estates

If you have a fun-loving nature, you should spend a morning or afternoon touring the infamous Dole Pineapple Plantation located on Oahu. At this fun and interesting attraction, you can attempt to navigate one of the largest garden mazes in the world, take a tram ride through the plantation grounds or indulge in some fresh pineapple, which is sold at various times on the plantation's property.

Planning Your Getaway

If you want to enjoy winter Hawaii style, you should plan your getaway carefully! For example, peak season prices for a Hawaiian vacation rentals can be quite high, and flights are often more expensive during winter holidays. However, booking your getaway far in advance can help you to save a substantial amount of money, regardless of the time of year you plan to travel.

Shanon Searls inspecting Maui properties

Additionally, many visitors discover that renting a private Maui villa is the best choice when traveling with family or a group and allows guests to enjoy privacy and the comforts of home. While all-inclusive packages are a decent choice, those looking to enjoy the authenticity and culture that Hawaii has to offer might prefer to be in a private villa and purchase their own food from local farmer’s markets and grocery stores and cook together as a family in a private, gourmet kitchen.

Regardless of what type of vacation you have in mind, you are sure to be pleased with the beauty and charm of the lovely island state of Hawaii!

All photos property of Exotic Estates

Maui from Above with Maverick Helicopters Maui! urn:uuid:50db60ba-3d92-8abf-2ba7-9a9f58b11d39 2018-01-03T16:30:02-07:00 Maverick Helicopters Maui

Are you looking to add some adventure to your Maui vacation? Explore the arresting beauty of Maui with an aerial tour with Maverick Helicopters!

Because of its mountainous terrain, much of Maui, appropriately known as the "Valley Isle," may only be viewed from the air.  Even many Maui regulars have not experienced the incredible sights of Maui’s remote interior valleys and mountain ranges, not to mention gorgeous views of the coastline.

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour

Maverick Helicopters offers VIP-level service from the Kahului Heliport, where you are guaranteed to experience a standout tour. Maverick offers the highest level of safety and service in the industry, and has over 21-years of experience delivering awe-inspiring tours and lifelong memories.

Offering a variety of tours, don’t miss the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Maui. Here are a few popular tours!

Hana Rainforest Experience

Exotic Estates Concierge

This exhilarating helicopter ride will have you and your friends and family soaring along Maui’s North Coast. You will see breathtaking views of sea cliffs and cascading waterfalls on your 40-minute roundtrip helicopter flight. Aerial shoreline perspectives above Paia, Hookipa, Haiku, the famous big-wave winter surf destination – JAWS, the Road to Hana, and the iconic Jurassic Rock, lead you to an exclusive landing destination deep in the Hawaiian rainforest. 

Maverick will take you through the Hana rainforest, where you can explore Maui’s authentic and remote landscape. This trip features a private 30-minute landing within the rainforest where you can get up close and personal with the tropical landscape of Hawaii. Your pilot will provide extensive information about this remote and untouched Hawaiian landscape, a land which very few people have the privilege visiting in person.

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour

This flight experience is a one-of-a-kind Maui excursion!

Maui Spirit Tour

Feel the "Maui Spirit" as you soar above the island's renowned dormant crater, Haleakala, goregous waterfalls and the Hana Rainforest! Haleakala National Park is home to the world's largest dormant volcano. The crater is so big that the island of Manhattan can fit inside it! The otherworldly landscape resembles the moon, and on this tour,  you will get to enjoy an incredible perspective of this natural wonder, minus the 12-mile hike! 

Also, you'll get a tour of the lush Hana Rainforest, which is best viewed from the sky! 

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour
The highlights of this exciting tour include views of Haleakala Crater, Old Hana Town, the Manawainui Valley and the spectacular Maui coastline.

Maui Dream

Maui is what Hawaiian dreams are made of and this elite tour truly captures the splendor of the island. Soar into the sky and experience the dramatic beauty of Maui, the "Valley Isle," as you tour the island, coast to coast. Then, you will fly over Haleakala National Park with close views of the crater, the Hana Rainforest, West Maui Mountains and lao Valley State Park. 

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour

Enjoy your own private tour of Maui's lush landscape, magnificent coastlines, hidden valleys, scenic waterfalls and the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. You will also get to see Lahaina, Kapalua, Kaanapali, Wailea and Hana, and you might even spot your Exotic Estates vacation rental! Experience the journey of a lifetime with the Maui Dream tour.

Sunset Odyssey

If you are looking to experience the most spectacular sunsets of a lifetime, this three-island tour is just for you! Start your experience on Maui, where you can see the beautiful coastlines and Pacific Ocean views. Then, your helicopter will sour of the Pailolo Channel’s pristine waters on the way to Molokai, where you will get a peek of its ancient fish ponds, which are alive with brilliantly colored waters and full of inhabitants, and iconic Elephant Rock. 

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour

Mavericks Helicopters Maui

After Molokai, you will head to Lanai and find Shipwreck Beach, with its rusted World War II-era naval vessel famously stranded on the nearby reef. Finally, you will return to Maui and fly over Molokini crater on the way. You'll end your tour with a flight over Makena, Kihei and Wailea as you watch the sunset from high above!!

Exotic Estates Concierge, Helicopter Tour, Maui Helicopter Tour

Contact Exotic Estates' Concierge Today!

Add a wonderous experience to your vacation with one of these these awe-inspiring tours with Maverick Helicopters. Once you book your vacation villa with Exotic Estates, our Concierge will be delighted to book your private tour! 


All photos courtesy Maverick Helicopters Maui

Written by Shanon Searls

The Beast & Spoon Private Chef Services urn:uuid:08baf5f2-35d1-ac37-76ee-afba1b06ea57 2018-01-03T16:28:25-07:00 Renting private villas has become a popular way for friends and family to vacation together, and hiring a private chef is the perfect way to enjoy local cuisine wherever you go. Whether you are hosting a dinner party, an intimate couples' dinner, or just need to feed a small family, hiring a private chef can be as simple or upscale as you wish!

Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef ServicesThe Beast & Spoon Serves Cauliflower Steak

If you are planning to travel to Hawaii in the future, you don’t want to miss out on Maui’s premier private chef, The Beast & Spoon! Serving Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Big Island, and Kauai, you can enjoy their private chef services on any island.

The Beast & Spoon story starts with two best friends who left their fortune 50 jobs in NYC in 2014 to pursue the dream of a balanced and beautiful life in Hawaii. With a focus on the integrity of local ingredients, The Beast & Spoon has created an incredible private chef experience that is guaranteed to blow you away!

Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef ServicesMarluy and Chef Daniel Hard at Work

Chef Daniel has a Le Cordon Bleu degree and uses local Hawaiian ingredients, along with a fearless attitude, to craft delicious meals inspired by the island of Maui. His partner in crime, Marluy, is the general manager and is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience.

Custom is King

Once you book, you will consult with Daniel and Marluy so that they can put together the perfect menu for your tastes and vision. Whether you are vegan, gluten-free, or looking for an adventure, all tastes and palates are welcomed and skillfully accommodated!

Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef ServicesMarluy at Hoku Nui Farm

The Beast & Spoon works with each client to create a menu that is specific to their tastes and dietary needs and they encourage off-menu requests such as BBQ ribs, oxtails, etc... Is your mouth watering yet? Even the pickiest eaters won’t stump these two!

Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef Services - Local IngredientsChef Daniel Loves Picking Fresh, Local Ingredients

Every dinner party comes with a minimum of two, one chef and one server and for larger parties they bring more staff so you and your guests don’t have to lift a finger.

When Daniel and Marluy arrive to do their magic, you are more than welcome to join them in the kitchen and learn their cooking secrets. The kids will love lending a helping hand and might even get inspiration to help at home!

Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef Services - Happy ClientsHappy Clients with Chef Daniel

If you are looking for a more elegant ambiance, the Beast & Spoon knows when to stay behind the scenes and let the food speak for itself.


Exotic Estates The Beast & Spoon Private Chef Services - Beautiful Table SettingBeautiful Table Setting

Here are a few menu items to inspire your private chef experience!

Exotic Estates Private Catering with The Beast and Spoon

Before Dinner Drinks - Coconut cream with Jamaican lilikoi

Private Catering Maui

Fresh Caesar Salad

Private Chef Services Exotic Estates

Island Fruit Platter

The Beast and Spoon Private Catering

Pan Seared Mongchong

Private Chef Services with Exotic Estates

Lavender Panna Cotta


Private chef service ranges from $124-$450 per person, depending on whether you are looking for brunch, lunch, or dinner. All kids under 14 are complimentary.

Happy Clients from Beast and SpoonHappy Clients!

Catering prices depend on the service type (hors d’oeuvres, buffet stations, family style, or plated dinners). Holiday periods do experience a price premium.

Although they can serve alcoholic drinks, they are not able to purchase liquor on your behalf. If you are looking to pair wines with your meal, they recommend working with their sommelier, Ed, from Wailea Wines.

The Beast & Spoon loves to support local charities and non-profit organizations and they are passionate about sustainability and the environment, arts and culture, and education and economic empowerment. If you are looking to cater an event, reach out to Marluy directly.

Book Your Experience!

Beast and Spoon Catering, Exotic Estates

To make a reservation with the Beast & Spoon, call them at (808) 868-4883 or send an email to with your preferred date and share your vision for the meal. Once a non-refundable 20% hold is collected, your reservation is 100% guaranteed.

Written by Shanon Searls

Whale Watching Season is Here! urn:uuid:e9209d78-9d86-2e2a-e263-e9056e86c663 2019-06-24T02:51:18-07:00 Top 5 Places to Watch Whales on Maui!

Hawaii's warm Pacific waters aren’t just a popular destination for people. Each year, two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population migrate to the Islands to breed, calve, and nurse their young. Dubbed ‘Whale Season’, this phenomenon occurs every year between the months of November and May, reaching its peak January through March.

During this time in the Hawaiian Island chain, expect a whale of display (sorry - couldn't help that one) on the horizon! Whale activity such as tail slaps on the surface, blow hole sprays that shoot water up to twenty feet in the air, and awe inspiring full-body surface breaches by these 45-ton majestic mammals can be frequently and easily seen from just about any island vantage point. As usual, however, if you ask a local, there are certainly some standout spots. 

Whale watching maui, exotic estates

According to Maui Whale Watching, there are three separate populations of the North Pacific Humpback Whale. “These populations are scientifically referred to as “stocks.” The California/Oregon/Washington stock migrates from British Columbia to Central America. The Western North Pacific stock migrates from the Alaskan Kodiak Archipelago to Japan waters. Finally, Hawaii’s Kohola (whales in the ancient Hawaiian language), also known as the Central North Pacific stock, migrate between Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.”

Where to Spot Whales: Maui Hot Spots

Maui is home to some of the best whale watching in the world. The ocean channel between West and South Maui is protected by Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains, setting the stage for endless visibility and shallow waters ideal for humpback whales.

Besides an on-the-ocean view while aboard a whale watching excursion, the locations below are some of Maui’s best known sites for whale watching.

1. McGregor Point (Honoapiilani Hwy, near Ma’alaea)

This point is home to the McGregor Point lighthouse and sweeping ocean views!

Directions: Between Mile Markers #7 and Mile Marker #8, off the Honoapiilani “Pali” Highway, there is an unimproved rocky road that leads to the point overlook.

2. Papawai Scenic Lookout (Honoapiilani Hwy, near Ma’alaea)

This is the easiest lookout on island to access, and almost impossible to miss!

Directions: While travelling Lahaina-bound on the Honoapiilani “Pali” Highway, near Mile Marker #8 a turning lane entering the paved lookout parking lot.

3. Olowalu Area Beaches and Roadside (South of Lahaina)

This entire area of shallow water just along the towering West Maui Mountains is wonderful for viewing whale activity on a clear day.

Whether you simply pull the car over, stop beachside for a dip, or join a kayak whale watch excursion in these waters – you’re likely in for quite the show!

4. Puu Olai in Kihei

This trail is primarily used for hiking but has amazing views and is great for all skill levels.

Directions from Kihei: Follow the Piilani Highway south to Wailea Ike Drive. At the Wailea Shopping Center turn left on to Wailea Alanui Drive and follow it to Makena Road.

5. Your beachfront vacation home!

oceanfront whale watching maui, exotic estates

Call one of our Villa Specialists today to see which oceanfront homes are still available during this whale watching season. Lahaina Oceanfront Estate is perfectly located to whale watch while sipping on your morning coffee!

Local’s Tips:

Drive safe! The sight of whale activity right offshore while driving on the coastal roads is not uncommon here (especially in the Olowalu and Honoapiilani Highway areas)! We know it’s irresistible, but please stay focused and alert while driving.

Maui locals like to call whale season “fender-bender” season, as distracted driving is the cause for many preventable accidents. Don’t risk your precious vacation day, or your safety(!), on a vehicle collision over a whale – when in doubt, pull over to enjoy the view!


Written by Shanon Searls

Sarah’s 5 Top 5 Kauai urn:uuid:d0e66bd4-1b05-06ba-6f3e-cdaec6bc0d1b 2019-06-24T02:50:07-07:00 Aloha! Sarah here, Lead Concierge for Exotic Estates, and I’m excited to share some of my favorite things to do on the Garden Isle, Kauai - a real-world Bali Hai.  If you are staying at one our Exotic Estates Kauai villas, this list will give five solid activities that promise everything from casual touring to outdoor adventure.

Exotic Estates Hawaii ConciergeIt is Kauai’s verdant landscape that earns it the “Garden Island” nickname. I have lived in Hawaii for 20 years - and served as a concierge for 17 of those years - and love helping our guests discover the beauty and adventure that awaits them on this incredible island.

Kauai is home to secluded, idyllic beaches, groves of coconut palms, lush valleys, and more. The oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands, Kauai has diverse landscapes: you can climb mountains, trek through rainforests, go on incredible kayak paddles, visit a miniature Grand Canyon, and hike through deserts all on this one island! While there is no shortage of things to do on Kauai, I definitely have a few favorites. Here are five activities that I recommend any visitor to Kauai try to fit into their trip – most are popular and well-known, but everyone should do them at least once!


Sunset Sail or Kayak Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast State Park is a must-visit beauty spot on Kauai. The coastal park stretches for about 16 miles along the dramatic northwestern edge of the island. You can hike the mountainous terrain, but I prefer the view from the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Don't care for heights and cliffs, then skip the hike in favor of a sailing or kayaking expedition. There is a guided kayak trip you can do during the day, or if you prefer to work less, a sunset sail is a great option! The sunset views are breathtaking. This is a great way to see the coast if you would rather not walk the steep cliffs hikers encounter. Your Hanalei Bay Vacation Villas and Princeville Vacation Rentals are both relatively close to the Na Pali Coast, however, there are departure points on the southern part of the island, new Poipu, which offer regularly scheduled tour of the coast. Of course, the coast can also be toured by air with charters and tours from the airport in Lihue.

Cruise on a Wailua River Boat to Fern Grotto

This is another very popular beauty spot, for a very good reason – it’s one of the most beautiful sights to see! Fern Grotto is a cave formed from lava. The cave has become overgrown with gorgeous, green ferns that hang down from the rock face above the opening.

Exotic Estates Wailua River

An open-air boat will take you down the winding Wailua River, the only navigable river in Hawaii, to this unique grotto.

On your journey to the Fern Grotto landing, you will hear traditional Hawaiian stories and songs. You will even have a chance to try out some hula dancing. Once you arrive at the landing, a short walk through the rainforest will bring to the famed Fern Grotto.

A classic destination that still delivers and should be experienced at least once.

Take a Helicopter Ride Over Waimea Canyon

Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Once you see it by helicopter, the nickname will make perfect sense! Waimea Canyon is more than 3,000 feet deep and about 10 miles long. This dramatic landform features a stunning color palette of browns, greens, and reds. You can hike through the canyon, but the best way to see as much of Waimea Canyon as possible is from the air.

Exotic Estates Waimea Canyon

The helicopter flight will take you across the island to the canyon where you will be privy to the best views of this natural wonder. Keep an eye out for waterfalls as you fly overhead. If you are lucky, you will glimpse a rainbow stretching out over the canyon.

Snorkel the Waters Around Ni’ihau

The island of Ni’ihau is maintained by Hawaiians. The island, often called the “Forbidden Isle,” has limited encounters with the outside world.  While you are not allowed to touch foot on Ni’ihau, you will get close to the little Hawaiian Island and learn about of the history and culture of Ni’ihau.

Exotic Estates Hawaii Snorkel

The waters around the island are alive with colorful tropical fish and wildlife. Swim through the crystal clear waters for an up-close look at the island’s beautiful marine life. The island is also famous for the gorgeous Ni’ihau shells. Ni’ihau shells were made into necklaces and worn by Ali’i, or nobles of ancient Hawaii.

Visit the Pier at Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is often photographed and seen in movies, like The Descendants, it’s a very special and idyllic place – and Exotic Estates has some amazing Hanalei Bay Vacation Rentals.

Exotic Estates Hanalei Kauai

The river meets the ocean in this beautiful, northern Hawaiian Bay. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean, the scenic pier invites all to jump right in!

Stroll along the beach, or playin the water. Hanalei Bay is an ideal spot for swimming, surfing, and boogie boarding. You can also kayak along the Hanalei River. The pier is a scenic lookout that offers visitors an ideal spot for sunset views and calm reflection – sunrise here is also amazing!

Even if you’re not staying in Hanalei, pack a picnic and spend the entire day enjoying this historic spot on Kauai.

Thanks and feel free to reach out for expert help planning your special Kauai vacation experience!

Sarah Mater

Lead Concierge

Exploring Maui – Kihei and Paia urn:uuid:59aa9351-55e1-8fd4-db80-433c7bee3f04 2019-06-24T02:52:30-07:00 Kihei and Paia are two of our favorite Maui destinations and we are excited to highlight these Hawaiian-style towns. Each feature some of the most desirable and fun island activities with a comfortable and family –friendly vibe. Unlike their resort style neighbors, these two towns can be explored by foot as you discover beautiful beaches, boutique shops and art galleries, and other local’s favorites.

Exotic Estates Maui Kihei and Paia

Kihei and Paia go head to head as we compare all the fun activities that each offers. Both are unique and unpolished, where you can kick-back and relax in a true island style!

Paia  Maui

Paia Town North Shore Maui

Paia is on Maui’s North Shore and is surrounded by fields of sugarcane and pineapple. Once a booming plantation town during the height of the Maui sugarcane days, today you will find colorful shops and restaurants, all beaming with Aloha while opening their doors to locals and tourists alike. Take a stroll downtown and pop into one of the local art galleries or one-of-a-kind boutiques for the perfect souvenir to bring back home. The town has a kind of crunchy vibe, with organic grocers and funky shops selling locally produced art. Very relaxed and cool!

Exotic Estate Paia

Just north of town sits Maui Winds, the perfect vacation rental for those who want to be on the north side of Maui. You’re only a short distance from Paia, gorgeous beaches, and world-class surfing! Mama’s Fish House is outstanding and it less than 100 steps away. 

Maui Winds Exotic Estates Paia

This vacation home is ideal for a large family, or two families traveling together, as it offers split-level guest accommodations. The upstairs living space offers an open living room-kitchen area that is perfect for sharing quality time together. A new kitchen features granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Completely private, this home is perched oceanfront with intimate views and easy access to world-famous North Shore beaches!

Paia Town

Paia often gets lumped in with an excursion to Hana, but we suggest taking a little more time to explore this adorable little town or even dedicate your entire trip to staying here! You will feel the local vibe in Paia and you will find this throughout the many boutiques and restaurants as well. Rather than the resort-minded tourists who flock to the large hotels, you are likely to see a pro surfer and kids playing barefoot in the surrounding neighborhoods or buying groceries at the local organic grocery store - Mana Foods.

During the day, head down to Hookipa Beach, which is the wind surfing capital of the world during the winter months and you will see large north shore waves. Enjoy watching the pros compete or in the summer months you can swim in the warm water or sunbathe on the gold-sand beaches.

Paia Town North Shore Maui

Although we suggest trying just about any restaurant, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to visit the deli counter at Mana Foods, which is great for picking up a picnic lunch! Mama’s Fish House is a famous restaurant that shouldn’t be missed and the Paia Fish Market is outstanding. Grab a drink with family and friends at Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon and finish the day watching the sunset at Baldwin Beach Park!

Paia Town Boutiques

The clothing boutiques are truly one-of-a-kind where you can find comfortable Hawaiian threads, jewelry and other gifts to send back home. With three stores dedicated to swimsuits, leave the old bathing suit at home and pop into town to grab a fresh look.

For those looking for a non-resort island-style vibe, this Maui town is the perfect place to enjoy your Hawaiian getaway!

Kihei, Maui

Kihei Maui

Located on the Western Maui shore, Kihei has continued to grow over the years and offers an impressive selection of restaurants and shops catering to visitors of West Maui.  Located on the sunniest and driest part of the Island, this laid-back town feature six miles of beaches and offers views of Molokini, Lanai and the West Maui Mountains! Most of the beaches feature shady lawns and palm trees and some also have beach volleyball courts, skate parks, and basketball and tennis courts.

Only 25 minutes from the Kahului Airport, this town is perfectly located for a family getaway and is a great option for those looking for Hawaiian-style and a more local experience. One of our favorite Kihei vacation homes is our South Maui Parkside Villa, which can accommodate up to 8 guests and starts at just $780/night.

South Maui Parkside Villa

Another amazing villa is our Wailea Inn, which can sleep up to 32 guests, making it the perfect home for large get together or family reunions. Within walking distance to the beach, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy all that Maui offers with all your loved ones!

Wailea Inn Kihei

Kihei is also home to the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and is one of the most excellent places to spot one of these gorgeous mammals. Just north of Kihei is Maalaea Bay, where you can find boats watching to take visitors on whale watching expeditions, charter fishing trips, or even snorkel trips to Molokini. 

Kihei Maui Exotic Estates

From snorkeling to sailing or surfing and birdwatching, the town of Kihei has something to offer everyone!


Shanon Searls
Villa Specialist

Sarah’s 5 Top 5 Oahu urn:uuid:89ecf5ff-4a4e-d1bb-531f-0d3dee0e0a66 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Aloha! Sarah here. Oahu, aptly named the gathering place, is often our first introduction to the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, Oahu holds a unique position as the most populous island and the center of government, from the time of the Kingdom of Hawaii until today.

Hawaii Concierge Exotic EstatesFrom Waikiki, visitors will branch out to discover the other islands and their unique personalities. Sometimes you’ll hear people say that they liked other islands because they were less “touristy.” Well, the secret is that Oahu has some of the most gorgeous scenery and beaches to be experienced anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands. Exotic Estates also has fabulous Oahu vacation homes in a variety of areas from quaint towns, to rural beaches and urban settings.

Whatever it is you are looking for, whether a first-time visitor or a repeat visitor, Oahu offers many historically significant sites and easily accessible, quintessentially Hawaiian activities for visitors young and old.

Spend your time exploring the capital city of Honolulu, learn about a pivotal moment in U.S history at Pearl Harbor, or try your hand at surfing on Waikiki Beach or watch the experts up on the North Shore! No matter where you are on the island, you will be surrounded by gorgeous views and endless options for adventure and relaxation. Picking 5 activities is hard, because there is just so much going on here on Oahu!

Here are 5 activities that everyone should considering doing at least once on Oahu!

1. Surf Waikiki

This may sound obvious, but you have to do this at least once. Visit the spot where it all began and maybe even connect with the original lineage of the Hawaiian Beach boys.

Waikiki Beach is a two-mile long beach with eight different sections. This famous beach is not only gorgeous, it also has some of the best beginner-level surfing on the island. Anyone hanging out on Waikiki can take a lesson with local surfers who will help you get the hang of gliding across its famous rollers.

Waikiki Beach is also the perfect place to snorkel (out past all the bathers), paddle boat or boogie board. Generally, its waves are blue and playful, allowing for family fun and endless hours of enjoyment.

When you have had your fill of the sun, you can find somewhere to eat or shop in the city; Waikiki Beach offers upscale or casual dining and shopping.

Tip: Sunsets on Waikiki can be epic. Make sure you spend at least one afternoon enjoying the sunset, either from the beach, the water or one of the bars that ring the sand! 

2. Take a Waimea Valley Tour

Arrange a private tour of the Waimea Valley up on the world-famous North Shore of Oahu. This part of the island is known for its stunning flora and fauna, as well as its waves.

Waimea Valley is home to the Waimea Botanical Gardens, dozens of ancient archeological sites, and many breathtaking waterfalls. While you hike through the Hawaiian jungle, keep an eye out for colorful flashes of native birds. Waimea Valley also has many years of history. Ask your guide to tell you about the valley’s importance to the Hawaiian people.

Tip: The world-famous Waimea Bay is located across the street from Waimea Valley. This bay will roar to life with giant surf a few times a year during the winter months. However, during the summer Waimea is a great place for family beach days. Don’t miss the kids jumping off the rock at the end of the bay!

3. Honolulu Day Tour: Downtown Honolulu and Pearl Harbor

How much do you know about Hawaii? Most visitors are aware of Pearl Harbor and what occurred there, but, did you know that Hawaii used to have a monarchy? Did you know that we are the only state with two official languages? A Honolulu city tour will give you a much closer look at our fascinating history and culture.

Ioalani Palace downtown Honolulu

Only in Honolulu can you visit a true royal palace while still in the United States. Iolani Palace was built in the 1800s for the Hawaiian kings and queens, and today is open to visitors. The palace has been lovingly restored, and on your tour you will see original furnishings, learn about the history of the Hawaiian people, and get to know a few of the fascinating Hawaiian monarchs who once called the palace home. Historic Chinatown is nearby, as is a museum that looks at the impact of missionaries on Hawaii.

Tip: Because Honolulu is a great melting pot, you can also add a short culinary tour of downtown and its many markets, experiencing the different tastes, sounds and scents from the many cultures who have come to this island over the years and made a home here.

After spending your morning at the palace and eating lunch downtown, make your way over to Pearl Harbor to visit the stirring Arizona Memorial. The National Parks Department has done a wonderful job curating this experience and placing the events that unfolded there in 1941 in a historical context.

NB: those wanting to experience a somber military landmark, other than Pearl Harbor, can visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Also known as Punchbowl Cemetery, this memorial honors the people who served in the Armed Forces.

4. Get Adventurous at Kualoa Valley Private Ranch

No trip to Oahu would be complete without a little bit of outdoor adventure. Kualoa Ranch has 4,000 acres that sprawl across an unbelievably scenic nature reserve. Explore the ranch on horseback, or speed things up with an ATV ride. It is so beautiful in this valley, you won’t want to miss your chance to experience this beauty first-hand.

Kuaola Ranch Exotic Estates

As you ride through Kualoa Ranch, you might feel a growing sense of familiarity. You will be amazed at how often this ranch has been used as the setting for movies and TV shows. This Hawaiian spot has served as the lush backdrop for the terrifying dinosaurs of “Jurassic World” and “Jurassic Park.” King Kong also crashed his way through Kualoa in “Kong: Skull Island.” You can even take a tour of all the specific movie sites on the ranch.

If you want a little bit more of an adrenaline rush, ascend into the canopy to take the Jurassic Valley zip line tour. Watch the green of the ranch rush by from 200 feet up in the air.

Tip: For a real Polynesiam adventure, check out Goat Island located just off shore. This island is part bird sanctuary and can only be reached during low tide. Be careful – tides, currents and weather can catch you off guard. Not a good idea for young children as you must traverse the water.

5. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center

Admittedly, this is a totally touristy thing to do. However, it’s also a place where children and adults can enjoy learning about the cultures of the Pacific in an immersive environment.

The Hawaiian Islands have been home to the Hawaiian people, a Polynesian people, long before they became a part of the United States. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center is a wonderful way to learn about Polynesian cultures.

Learn about the islands of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa, and Tahiti with demonstrations and hands-on experiences; take a tour in a canoe, learn how to build a fire, learn to cook in the Samoan tradition, try Tahitian spear throwing, and more. You can also stay for dinner and enjoy a full luau performance.

Tip: The Center is located way up on the northern Windward (east facing) side of Oahu, allowing you to combine a morning here with an afternoon up on the North Shore. Depending on the time of the year, the North Shore beaches offer either great swimming or epic surf viewing.

Oahu is a historic and beautiful island, waiting to be explored and re-discovered. If you are renting an Exotic Estates villa, I would be happy to help you plan a memorable and perhaps even surprising visit to Oahu!

Sarah Mater

Lead Concierge,
Exotic Estates


Sarah's Top 5 Big Island urn:uuid:7885fc9c-0589-e8c1-cfc6-160aae951514 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Aloha! Sarah here, ready to share more tips for visitors coming to my beautiful home of Hawaii. Today I’ll share five ways for you and your family and friends to experience the Big Island of Hawaii!

Big Island - From Sand to Snow!

As the Lead Concierge for Exotic Estates, I spend a lot of time exploring the Hawaiian Islands, and even though I’ve lived here for many years, I am always discovering something new and beautiful. 

The island of Hawaii, the biggest of eight main islands, is home to more than 10 different climate zones. In one hour, you can go from a sandy beachfront on the blue Pacific, to a snowy mountain top! 

Visit the Kona area of the island to soak up the sun and enjoy some of the local coffee and other products. Trek to Puna and Kau to see just how dramatic volcanic activity can be. Stay up on the Kohala Coast, north of Kailua-Kona, and enjoy some of the best villa rental experiences offered anywhere in Hawaii. Wherever you are on this island, you will be treated to unforgettable views and experiences. 

Here are five special ways that you can experience this truly unique place that we call the Big Island! 

1. Manta Ray Night Dive 

This is a very special experience, that’s not to be missed if you’re a diver. Big Island Divers will take you on a magical journey under the waters of the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll come face to face with enormous manta rays in the wild. 

These creatures might be a little intimidating at first, but don’t be afraid. Rays are gentle giants that soar through the water. The longer you are with them in the water, the more comfortable you become. 

The dives begin in the late evening, meaning you will spend your evening in a completely different world beneath the waves. If you are a certified scuba diver, you can enjoy an open-water dive with these majestic animals. Otherwise, you can spend your time with the manta rays snorkeling. This is a special, once in a lifetime opportunity.

Manta Ray Dive - Exotic Estates

2. Waterfall Ziplining 

Skyline Akaka Falls is one of the best zipline courses on the island. Famous, much-photographed  Akaka Falls is more than 200 feet high. The thundering water pours down of the cliff, while the green forest around you is alive with the sounds of wildlife. The scenery is utterly incredible and because there is an adventure dimension to this activity, it’s probably something the entire family, even aloof teens, will enjoy!

The seven different zipline courses take you through the tree canopy and over the falls in one of the island’s most beautiful state parks. In between adrenaline-pumping rides, your guide will give you a unique peek into Hawaiian culture. The two-and-a-half hour trip is something you will be sure to remember for years to come. 

Exotic Estates Akaka Falls

3. Soar Over an Active Volcano 

The Big Island is home to Kilauea, one of the world’s most beautiful and active volcanoes. The eruptions are gentile and ongoing, and the lava flows pose no danger, as long as you keep a safe distance! While you can hike to see the stirring beauty of this natural phenomenon, perhaps the best ways to see Kilauea is from the air. 

I always advise guests often take helicopter tours that fly you over the glowing volcano and more of the Big Island’s unparalleled scenery. Lately, the volcano has been very active. Flying over it will show you Hawaii’s volcano goddess Pele at her best!

Exotic Estates - Paradise Helicopters Big Island Tours

4. Go Fish! 

The Big Island is the great place for sport fishing. Charter a boat to take you out on the Pacific Ocean for some unforgettable deep-sea fishing. You could catch a blue marlin, a spearfish, mahi mahi, or a yellowfin tuna – just to name a few.  In between catches, during whale season, roughly between November and April, you can watch for whales that frequent the waters off the coast of the Big Island. 

I know great captains who love what they do, and they will make the day entertaining and prosperous!

Exotic Estates Big Island Sport Fishing

5. Take a Coffee Tour 

If you love coffee, you are going to love what the Big Island has in store for you! The island of Hawaii is home to hundreds of coffee farms. Kona coffee lovers can surround themselves with the fragrant smell of coffee on a tour of a coffee plantation. 

You can learn about the entire process of cultivating coffee, roasting the beans to perfection, and brewing the perfect cup of coffee. You can purchase Kona coffee, one of the most beloved gourmet coffees, straight from the source. There is nothing quite like a freshly brewed cup of delicious Kona coffee when back home to remind you of your stay on the Big Island.

Exotic Estates Big Island

Combine your adventures in the island’s coffee country with a visit to Vanilla Farm. Hawaii Vanilla Company has been cultivating vanilla and making unique products since the 1990s. The Big Island is the place in the United States for growing vanilla. Trust me, the flavor is incredible. Your taste buds will be forever thankful!

Enjoy the Big Island's special charms and be sure to check out Exotic Estates Big Island vacation homes

Sarah Mater

Lead Concierge,
Exotic Estates

Sarah’s Top 5 Maui urn:uuid:a4281cd5-9a67-d273-6cce-257d438317e9 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Exotic Estates Lead Concierge 

Exotic Estates ConciergeHello! My name is Sarah Mater and I am the Lead Concierge at Exotic Estates. It's my pleasure to share the beauty and wonder of the Hawaiian Islands with guests renting a vacation home with us in Hawaii. Maui is my home island, so I know it very well. Although it was tough to narrow down, I have put together my favorite 5 must-do activities for first-timers and return guests alike; they are popular for a reason!

About Maui

Maui is Hawaii’s second largest island – and many people’s favorite Hawaiian island. Surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, Maui is a big draw for beaches, ocean wildlife, stunning scenery, and unforgettable experiences.

Maui is known for its lush, green valleys and its miles of pristine, sandy coastline. The interior of the island is ripe for exploration with tropical greenery, hidden waterfalls, and a rolling volcanic landscape.

When renting a vacation home on Maui, and not relaxing in your private slice of paradise, there are plenty of exciting activities to choose from on the island. Here are my 5 favorite ways (well, 5 must-do activities anyway - I have many favorites!) to explore and experience the island of Maui.

1. Learning About the Culture

Hawaii has a rich culture and there are plenty of ways to experience this culture on Maui. I personally love to canoe and hula dance. You can easily experience both of these cultural pastimes during your time on Maui.

Exotic Estates Hawaii Culture

Outrigger Canoeing

When you learn how to paddle your canoe you will discover the meaning of “lokahi.” This Hawaiian word means harmony and balance. As you paddle with the other members of your group, you will work together to make your canoe cut smoothly through the water; and you will also learn about the history of the canoe and its importance in Hawaiian culture. 

In Hawaii, canoeing is both a joyful pastime and a heated competition. Canoe races are still very prevalent throughout Hawaii. During the official race season, you can watch paddlers compete at different beaches around the island. Every year, Hawaii holds a state finals event on a different island.

Hula Dancing

Hula is a Polynesian dance practiced by the people who first settled on the Hawaiian Islands. You can see Hawaiians perform this dance live and you can even learn a few moves yourself! Lessons can be arranged right at your Maui vacation home. This is fun, educational and pretty much guarantees some great photos and memories.

Exotic Estates Maui Hula Dancing

You might be surprised how challenging it is to look as graceful as Hawaii’s skilled dancers look when they’re on stage at a local venue. In between learning about the history of hula and the intricacies of performing the dance, you can take part in making your own flower leis!

2. Getting Out on the Ocean

No trip to Maui would be complete without time spent in the ocean. Whether it is on a mono-hull sailboat (my favorite) or a catamaran, being out on the Pacific Ocean is incredible. You can also get an up-close look at the wildlife that lives just beneath the surface. Try snorkeling to catch a glimpse of a giant sea turtle or Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. You might even see whales swimming offshore during humpback whale season.

Exotic Estates Maui Whales

Surfing Safaris

If you love water sports, you won’t want to miss going on a surf safari. Professional surfers take you to less crowded beaches where you spend four hours either learning to surf, honing your skills, or just ripping it up with the locals. They provide the surfboards, chairs, snacks, and refreshments. All you have to do is show up!

3. Helicopter Tour

One of the most breathtaking views you can get of the island of Maui, or any Hawaiian island, is from above. Take a helicopter tour to see more of the island than you ever could on foot. Many places on the island have never been touched by people as they are simply too inaccessible. The only way to see these remote and beautiful places is from a helicopter. Many tours will land somewhere on the island to treat you to an up-close look at some of Maui’s most amazing views.

Exotic Estates Helicopter Tours

4. Hiking to Hana’s Waterfalls

Hana is Maui’s very own coastal rainforest. Located more than 50 miles from the island’s airport, this corner of paradise is remote and totally worth the trip. Just a short hike will take you to some of the area’s most beautiful waterfalls.

You can also let a guide take you through the rainforest for a more immersive experience. You can even swim in beautiful fresh water pools created by the tumbling waterfalls.

Exotic Estates Hawaii Waterfall

5. Reaching the Haleakala Summit

Haleakala Crater – the highest point on the island – is located in the Upcountry region of Maui. From this lofty vantage point, you can enjoy unparalleled views of the island.

If you wake up early enough, you can see an amazing sunrise.

Tip – if you are traveling from the US Mainland or Canada, take advantage of your jetlag and enjoy this and other early-morning activities while still adjusting to Hawaiian time.

The name of this US national park actually means “house of the sun.” You can hike, bike, or ride on horseback to the top. In summer, it’s nice to get out of the heat and head up to the higher elevations. There are several different eco-climates that you will pass through on this dormant volcano so the weather, flora, and fauna will change as you ascend to the summit.

These are just five activities that I enjoy. Truly, there are many others and once I speak with you and learn more about your group, I can create the perfect itinerary for your Hawaiian vacation!

Mahalo and see you on Maui! Also, check out Exotic Estates Maui vacation homes and get inspired for your next Hawaii vacation!

Sarah Mater
Lead Concierge
Exotic Estates International


Insider Report – Colorado Ski Resorts and Towns urn:uuid:a551e861-34c4-322c-5ce0-a37a004775a6 2017-08-17T02:22:27-07:00 Welcome to colorful Colorado, the state that truly has it all! We are excited to share insights about our favorite ski-towns in the high-country.

Whether you ski, snowboard, or just love being in the mountains, the Colorado Rocky Mountains are a stunning destination to spend your vacation. From cool, crisp summers to cozy and snow-covered winters, there is a season for everyone.

On a recent trip to inspect our mountain vacation villas, we put together a report of some of our favorite towns and villas. Sit back, relax, and let us take you on a tour of the Colorado’s famous Rocky Mountain resort towns!


Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

This beautiful city is located at the base of the Rocky Mountain Tenmile Range. An old mining town with rich history, the namesake comes from John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the 14th Vice President of the United States. It was created and named in 1859 in hopes of flattering the US Government for a post office. Interestingly, it worked! A post office was built, the first between the continental divide and Salt Lake City!

A fascinating turn, when the Civil War broke out in 1861, the former vice president sided with the Confederates and the Pro-Union citizens changed the town’s name, replacing the “I “with an “E.” The gold-rush of 1859 brought many prospectors to the area, resulting in a production of 31,000 kilograms of gold by 1908. Some evidence gold mining can still be seen along the Blue and Snake Rivers.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villasBy December of 1961, skiing was introduced to Breckenridge, after trails were cut on the lower part of Peak 8, which was connected to town by Ski Hill road. Over the last 50 years, Breckenridge ski resort expanded to what it is today.

Breckenridge ski resort has a total of 4.5 square miles at an elevation of 9600 feet above sea level. Although the winter low temperatures are quite severe, dry air keeps it bearable - if you’re dressed appropriately. 

The summers are gorgeous and warm, perfect for mountain biking, fishing, hiking and bike riding around town. For mountain and road biking, Peaks Trail connects Breckenridge and Frisco, and extends into the flume loops in the Highlands. Nine miles long, this is a popular ride for visitors and locals alike.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

Full of history, good food and adventure, this laid-back resort-town is perfect for families looking to spend quality time together.

Downtown Breckenridge is only a short walk from the gondola, and features a plethora of delicious local dining, mountain ski shops, boutiques, and many art galleries.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

This is adorable little town is perfect for your next ski vacation, where you will find large and cozy luxury cabins with a hometown feel and warm atmosphere!

Featured Breckenridge Villas

Our Breckenridge villas are all designed to let you enjoy the natural beauty of Colorado, while offering fabulous amenities and all the comforts of home. Warm up with the family by the fireplace, or experience Colorado like a true local and enjoy a warm hot tub on a cold winter night!

Baldy View Lodge

Breckenridge vacation homes

This scenic  and private home has a dramatic view of Baldy Mountain and the surrounding forest, featuring 2,536-square-feet of living space! This rustic home is only a mile away from Main Street and the gondola that will take you up the mountain slopes!

Cloud Cabin

Breckenridge Vacation Villas

This amazing mountain-view villa is completely private and also close to the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort. Guests will love the stunning view of Ten Mile Range and a national forest. Featuring four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and one half bathroom, up to 10 guests can comfortabley sleep at this magnificent Colorado cabin. 


Colorado Vacation Villas, Vail Vacation homes, Vail colorado

Vail is one of Colorado’s best-known ski resorts, attracting visitors from around the world to enjoy world-class skiing and winter activities. When most people think of skiing in Colorado, Vail is often the first town that comes to mind as the resort is large and the town offers something for everyone.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Vail vacation homes

The resort was originally established in December 1962, and it is the largest ski-mountain in Colorado. The town was named Dr. Charles Vail, who was the highway engineer that routed US Highway 6 through the Eagle Valley in 1940, which eventually became Interstate 70. By 1969, Vail was the most popular ski resort in the state, with over 5,000 acres, 33 ski lifts, and 193 marked trails across three mountain faces.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Vail vacation homes

A common theme in the high-country, the winters are cold and the summers are warm, offering the possibility of year-round activities and adventures. The town of Vail boasts many fine restaurants, high-end shopping and boutiques.  In recent history, Vail has also become known as a cultural center, offering various art and music events throughout the summer and winter months.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Vail Vacation homes, Vail colorado

In the summertime, many visit Vail to enjoy the beauty of the mountains as well as the town’s large golf course. Other summer activities include hikes, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and festivals.

Featured Vail Villas

Our gorgeous Vail villas are built to accommodate large groups such as multi-generational family getaways or corporate outings. These large villas are filled with luxurious amenities, open spaces, and gorgeous views of the Vail Valley and resort.

Arrabelle Vail Ski Resort

Vail resort, Vail villas, arrabelle resort

The Colorado ski home rental is part of Arrabelle Resort, an opulent ski resort destination in Vail Square. Offering five-bedrooms, Arrabelle Vail Ski Chalet is 4,000 square feet and is designed to reflect the beauty of its alpine surroundings. Hardwood floors, a marble coffee table, and entire walls of windows create a cozy, intimate ambiance. Outside, guests can admire the view of Vail from the 280-degree balcony accessible from the villa’s living room. Arrabelle Vail Ski Chalet is perched six stories above Vail Square, offering guests breathtaking views of the mountain, forest, and the lights of the ski resort! 

Forest Road West

Vail Vacation Homes, Colorado Vacation homes

This ski-in/ski-out five bedroom, 5.5 bathroom luxury Vail vacation rental is located in Lionshead and has commanding views of the Gore Range, Vail Valley, Gondola and Lionshead Village.  

Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek is a quiet resort town just west of Vail. Hidden from view, Beavercreek is a small resort that encompasses the true beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The perfect getaway for families, this modern resort offers a cozy and relaxed ambience, and reminds one of a European ski towns.

The town square in beaver Creek is filled with gourmet restaurants and boutiques, surrounded by flowered meadows and lush alpine greenery.  Don’t let this small-town fool you, as there’s always something to do in Beaver Creek.

During the summertime, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, golfing at Beaver Creek golf resort, and even luxurious wine excursions with a professional hiking guide.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

Enjoy a 4x4 adventure tour and watch the changing fall colors, or get a bird’s eye view with the scenic chairlift ride.  For those traveling with the family, the resort features miniature golf, a climbing wall, a children’s museum, and even gem panning where the kids can learn about rocks, gems and fool’s gold. 

Every year in August, thousands visit Beaver Creek for their wine and spirits festival, presented by wine spectator featuring beaver Creek chef an exclusive wine pairings!

One of our favorite ski resorts, Beaver Creek is truly an intimate experience for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains to the fullest!

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

Featured Beaver Creek Villas

Our charming beaver Creek villas range in size from cozy homes that accommodate couples to large villas that are great for big family outings. Whether you are looking for a quiet condo, or a penthouse suite overlooking the gondola, these villas feature all the amenities of home with a cozy mountain ambiance.

West Wing Penthouse Suite at Bachelor Gulch

Colorado Mountain Ski Villa, Ski in Ski Out Villa

This gorgeous and well-appointed two-story penthouse is in the West Wing of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. Offering some of the best-unparalleled views of the Colorado Mountains, this villa as 4,400 sq. ft. of living space and can accommodate up to 12 guests, making this the perfect ski vacation for families and friends.   

Apline Chalet

Colorado Mountain Ski Villa, Ski in Ski Out Villa

This luxurious ski-in/ski-out Aspen penthouse is truly a mountain gem! Boasting five bedrooms, Alpine Chalet is located in the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch on the 9th floor and features gorgeous panoramic views of the Colorado Rockies and boasts full access to 5-star resort amenities.  Guests will enjoy plush mountain living in this spacious retreat, which is beautifully appointed with high-end décor and furnishings. 

Aspen and Snowmass

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

Aspen was founded in the 1880s during the Colorado silver boom, gaining its namesake from the abundance of aspen trees in that area. Aspen gained most of its fortune in the mid 20th century when Aspen Mountain was developed into a ski resort. In the late 20th century, then journalist Hunter S. Thompson often visited Aspen, along with singer John Denver who wrote two songs about the town making it popular with 1970s youth.

Today, musicians and movie stars can still be found in this wealthy Colorado ski town featuring some of the most expensive real estate in the United States.  The city sits at the end of roaring Fork Valley along the river.   Almost a four-hour drive from Denver, Aspen is a popular ski resort for tourists and locals alike, who are willing to make the drive. Aspen also has an airport, and it is possible to book a flight to Aspen from several US cities.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Breckenridge vacation villas

For those who make the trip, Aspen is well worth it and consists of four ski mountains that together, make up the terrain of the world-class Aspen Snowmass resort.

The town is gorgeous and offers plenty of winter and summer activities, such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fly fishing, and even hot air ballooning. Aspen Mountain Towers directly over downtown, making it the true example of a ski-in/ski-out Rocky Mountain resort.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Aspen Vacation homes, aspen colorado

Snowmass is also the location for the famed X-Games every winter. In the summertime, the mountains become the perfect setting for hiking, biking or horseback tours. It’s also an extremely romantic destination, and the perfect backdrop for a couple’s getaway, engagement, or even a wedding.

Colorado Vacation Villas, Aspen Vacation homes, aspen colorado

Downtown Aspen is full of world class restaurants and shops, often attracting the world’s most affluent tourists. If you are looking to enjoy a ski town on a budget, Aspen is probably not the place for you!

Featured Aspen Villas

Each of our Aspen villas are built to impress the most discerning traveler, offering luxurious amenities and stunning architecture surrounded by the incredible natural beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Aspen Double Diamond Lodge

Aspen Vacation Homes, Aspen Lodging, Luxury Aspen Villas

If you are planning a trip to the beautiful town of Aspen, Colorado, consider this ideally located villa that accommodates up to ten guests. Boasting over 13,000 square feet of sumptuous mountain living, Aspen Double Diamond Lodge is perfect for discerning travelers planning mountain escapes for families, friends or corporate groups. Located in the gated community of Starwood, this Aspen villa is only minutes from downtown and features gorgeous views of Aspen peaks!

Oahu Villa Renters - Making the Most Out of Waikiki urn:uuid:65993994-d863-926e-84c1-67552a1dba03 2018-05-31T10:28:02-07:00 By John Di Rienzo

Waikiki Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu has been luring visitors since the days of the Hawaiian monarchy, when it was a choice surfing spot. 

The birth of Waikiki as we know it today, the overseas tourist mecca, started in the late 1800s, when the first hotel was built along the shorefront. Two early hotels are still there in their glory, and they are both still two of the most famous and prestigious hotels on Oahu if not in Hawaii: the Moana Surfrider Hotel (Westin) and the Royal Hawaiian hotel (Luxury Collection). 

The Moana hotel is the older of the two hotels, and it has a beautiful, colonial charm, with rocking chairs on its long wooden porches and a great bar under an old banyan tree on the beach. The Royal Hawaiian hotel boasts a classic art deco look and is sometimes referred to as “The Pink Palace.” 

Royal Hawaiian Hotel - John Di Rienzo

Royal Hawaiian Hotel - by John Di Rienzo

Even though we prefer the comfort and benefits of staying in a home (an Exotic Estates Oahu villa of course), we still love this world-famous beach and hotel corridor for its many charms, old and new. Even the classic hotels help create a mystique and timeless charm, which connects us to the past.

Here are just a few of the ways that vacation home renters, from Kailua to Kahala and beyond, can enjoy this famous stretch of beach.

What Exactly Counts as Waikiki Beach?

When people refer to Waikiki, they are referring to a general area that includes beachfront, city blocks and canal-front land. This area runs roughly from the Ala Wai Canal on the west or downtown Honolulu side, to Kapahulu Avenue on the Diamond Head-side. It is basically the dense stretch of hotels, high-rise and low-rise condos and shops that dominate this part of the City of Honolulu. 

View of Waikiki Beach - by John Di Rienzo

However, for the purpose of this post, we’ll also include the area at the foot of Diamond Head in our discussion, because of its proximity. This is the area located on the other side of Honolulu's great Kapiolani Park, which is home to the Honolulu Zoo and hosts weekly art fairs and large festivals.

In terms of feel and nature, the neighborhoods below Diamond Head and the small cluster of hotels that sit on the ocean, are a world away from Waikiki proper, though they are within walking distance or a short Uber ride from all the action. This Diamond Head side of the great sweeping arc that creates the coastline of greater Waikiki is referred to as the Gold Coast, and it is home to million-dollar Exotic Estates Oahu vacation villas.

Paul Mitchell Estate - by John Di Rienzo

Waikiki is actually made of up several beaches, with Waikiki referring to the section of beach that runs roughly in front the Royal Hawaiian hotel down to the Moana Hotel. Moving west along the beach, towards Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach proper is followed by Kuhio, Queens and Sans Sauci (or Kaimana) beaches.

Exotic Estates Waikiki Beach Pic

View of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head - by Shanon Searls

The section of beach in front of the Reef Hotel and elegant Halekulani is Fort DeRussy Beach, and the section furthest west, near the Hilton Hawaiian Village, is Kahanamoku Beach. After that you hit the Ala Wai Canal and then Ala Moana Beach Park.

Renovation of Waikiki – a Manufactured Paradise, in Paradise

Waikiki went through a major civic renovation around 15 years ago that left it with nice stone sidewalks, polished parks and a collection of bronze statues installed to honor figures from Hawaii’s history. Included is the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, King Kalakaua and the Queen Kapiolani. The statue of Duke is often decorated with leis and it’s a wonderful place to take a snapshot, with the waves that he once rode still rolling in, in the background.

Waikiki Bronze Statue - by John Di Rienzo

There is Hawaii-inspired landscaping right along the beach, which includes stylized fishponds with waterfalls and adds to the manufactured tropical paradise that is both Waikiki’s historic charm - or detractor – depending on your mood and perspective.

A lot has been done to create the feeling that you are in a Hawaiian tropical paradise, designed to play upon stereotypical concepts that have shaped Hawaii tourism dreams since its earliest days – as if blue Hawaiian waters, rolling waves, surfers, rainbows and the always regal and wild-looking Diamond Head were not enough!

Surfing Waikiki's Famous Rollers

Waikiki was a royal surf spot for the Hawaiian Monarchy, that is known for sure. However, the man who made surfing a world-wide phenomenon from California to Australia to New York, is the one and only Duke Kahanamoku.

Duke was a strapping Hawaiian man born in the waning years of the Hawaiian monarchy.  He was an Olympic swimmer for the US team in the early part of the 20th century and he traveled around the world showcasing his swimming prowess, and, thankfully, introducing people to the noble Hawaiian sport of surfing.  

Waikiki Surfer

Surfing on Waikiki Beach - by John Di Rienzo

Waikiki Beach was the home break, and he and his club of fellow watermen were known as the Waikiki Beach Boys. These guys were the stuff of lore from the 1920s until the middle of the century. They worked Waikiki and serviced the hotels, teaching surfing and outrigger canoeing to visitors. They hobnobbed with many socialites of era, and had a famous protégé in Doris Duke, who (I was told on a tour of her estate Doris Duke's Shangri La – see Post for details) was one of the first haole (non-Hawaiian/western) women to learn the sport of surfing.

Since Duke’s time, many people have learned to how to surf on Waikiki’s famous rollers (including yours truly). South facing, the waves are very mellow (if nonexistent) during the winter months, but the breaks in front of Waikiki come alive when the summer swell hits. It can get big so be careful and heed warnings! (Tip! Certain areas can have jellyfish at times – see jellyfish calendar by Waikiki Aquarium).

Renting a Board

It’s easy to rent a longboard on the beach for an hour or a day, and even get a lesson if it’s your first time. The cost runs around $10 - $15 an hour. We recommend walking over to Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki, which is a stand located on the beach, just across from the Hyatt, on the side of the beach close to the banyan tree that’s on Kalakaua (there are also hula shows there regularly).

Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki also offers private and group surfing lessons for a reasonable price. We rented from them when we were touring our villas on Oahu and they could not have been nicer and easier to work with!

Exotic Estates Waikiki Surf Rental Pic

Surfboard Rentals - by Shanon Searls

Make a day of it and join the many people throughout history who discovered their love of surfing on the beach that gave birth to modern-day surfing.

Shopping in Waikiki

Waikiki used to be dominated by simple tourist-oriented stores selling clothing and, of course, trinkets to take or send home from paradise. One can still find those stores, the T-shirt shops and memorabilia hawkers, however, the arrival of upscale international brands has made a profound impact on the streetscape. 

You’ll see Prada, Tiffany, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Apple. If you don’t want to splurge on clothes or technology, have no fear, as there is a Ross and plenty of other places to pick up items you may need or want at a decent price.

Exotic Estates Waikiki Beach Shot

Waikiki Shopping - by Shanon Searls

The luxury shops are concentrated on the western end of Kalakaua Avenue, near Fort DeRussy.  For a variety of shops in one spot in Waikiki, including an Apple store and Tumi (for the extra bag you'll need to buy to take home all your items), you’ll want to visit the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

International Marketplace – Redone for Modern Tastes

Further down Kalakaua Avenue, towards Hyatt, an iconic spot that epitomized the tiki-bar chic of old Waikiki was the International Marketplace. The International Marketplace used to be a confusing collection of stands and shops selling endless tchotchkes and souvenirs under a massive banyan tree that added to the tiki-room vibe; think mall designed by Walt Disney and Gilligan. Some miss the old stands and tick-tacky paradise it hawked, but the new shops offer a lot of options, from Intermix to Saks to Crazy Shirts, a local T-shirt establishment that sells high-quality Hawaii-themed shirts and other items.

ABC Stores

One chain has a dominant, strangely ubiquitous presence in Waikiki: ABC Stores. ABC stores are Hawaii’s tourist-oriented convenience store. The shops vary in size from store to store, but each one tries to offer a little bit of everything. At these shops, you can find a quick breakfast on the run, macadamia nuts packed in travel cartons, endless selections of Hawaiian tchotchkes, beer, liquor and candy. You’ll also find swim trunks, snorkels and other beach essentials in a pinch – at decent prices. They seem to be on every corner and in every storefront, which can seem annoying at first, but they really come in handy. Make use of them!

Something Unique - Hats Made to Order - Newt at The Royal

Treat yourself to the ultimate panama-style hat at a charming store located in the Royal Hawaiian hotel. The store has a wonderfully vintage feel, along with photos of royals and others wearing hats of the same style.

Exotic Estates Royal Hawaiian Hotel Hats

Newt at the Royal Window - by John Di Rienzo

These are not cheap keepsakes, these are bespoke fashion items that will cost you. The gentelman who works at the shop will tell you all about them and then fit you out with your own hat that will last you a lifetime! Check out Newt on the garden-side of the Royal Hawaiian. 

Exotic Estates Newt at the Royal Waikiki

Newt at the Royal Window - by Shanon Searls

Food and Drinks

Waikiki is a fantastic place for enjoying restaurants and a cocktail at one of the many festive bars! There are simply too many to list, which is why Waikiki should be on your list; whatever your scene or budget - you’ll find it in Waikiki.

Here are some of our favorite spots. 

Gyoza no Ohsho

This is a simple ramen joint in Waikiki, behind the Hyatt. If you’re walking around and want a cheap, hearty and tasty meal, jump into this little gem and enjoy a bowl of ramen or some gyoza.

Exotic Estates Gyoza no Ohsho Waikiki

Gyoza no Ohsho - by John Di Rienzo


If you want an authentic Japanese restaurant with tatami rooms, check out Yoshistune. Yoshitsune is located in the Park Shore hotel, on the corner of Kapahulu and Kalakaua near the Honolulu Zoo.

Exotic Estates Yoshitsune Waikiki

Yoshitsune - by John Di Rienzo


Duke’s is a famous surf-themed bar that sits right on Waikiki Beach. Duke’s has restaurants on the other Hawaiian Islands as well as the US West Coast, but there is nothing like enjoying a Mai Tai and pu-pus on the beach at Waikiki, within sight of the rollers that made its namesake Duke Kahanamoku rode back in the day. It gets crowded for dinner, so be prepared to wait if you go during prime hours. The bar is always festive and the tables in the bar area are first-come, first-served, so you may be able to grab a couple seats there.

Duke's Waikiki Patio View at Night - by John Di Rienzo

Wasabi Bistro

Another great spot is the Wasabi Bistro. This little slice of Japan is tucked away in the pool area of the Breakers Hotel in Waikiki, on Beachwalk. You need to open the gate to the road (very old-school), you’ll enter a Japanese-themed two-story hotel, and towards the rear of the pool area you’ll find the entrance to Wasabi Bistro.

Exotic Estates.- Waikiki Wasabi Bistro

Wasabi Bistro - by John Di Rienzo

House Without a Key

The House Without a Key is located over the beach, inside of the most elegant hotels in Waikiki. It will offer you a classic Hawaiian upscale setting in which to enjoy a cocktail. Their Mai Tais are epic and strong – beware!

Exotic Estates Waikiki

Halekulani Mai Tai - by John Di Rienzo

However, it is the gorgeous setting and the skilled Hawaiian musicians who play there each night. There is also usually a very skilled hula dancer, who has a decidedly Golden Age of Waikiki style. Expect crowds around sunset and know that hotel guests do get seating priority, so if you want to be there during the magic time of day, get there a little early!

Exotic Estates House Without a Key Halekulani

Halekulani House Without a Key Hula - by John Di Rienzo

Halekulani Sunset  - John Di Rienzo

Halekulani Sunset House Without a Key Hula - by John Di Rienzo

Hula's Bar and Lei Stand

Hula's is a beloved local bar in the Waikiki Grand condo across from the Honolulu Zoo. The bar has served the Honolulu LGBT community for decades. The bar is on the second floor and offers a great happy hour, with cheap pitchers and open-air views of Diamond Head, Kapiolani Park and water. The bar is welcoming to all and gets crowded late nights and the weekends. 

In addition to all these spots there is also the usual restaurants that you find in tourist destinations, including a Hard Rock Café, a Cheesecake Factory and all the usual fast-food places that you know from home.

Culture in Waikiki – Urasenke Foundation - the Ancient Art of Tea 

There is more to Waikiki than just sand, sun, food and libations. Of course, Hawaiian culture is found throughout Waikiki, from statues of its kings and queens to the hula dancers that perform in the various venues. However, there is Japanese culture present as well. The Japanese immigrants have had a huge impact on Oahu over the past 100 years or so. You’ll see Buddhist temples throughout the islands (check out the Byodo-in), but tucked away in Waikiki, on Saratoga Street across from Fort DeRussy, there is the Urasenke Foundation.

The Urasenke Foundation is dedicated to preserving the ancient Japanese tea ceremony. The Foundation is located in in a small building, next to the vintage Japanese-themed hotel The Breakers, where the Wasabi Bistro is located.

Here it is possible to experience and learn about the ancient ceremony. Guests pay a nominal fee and are led to a tea room. You will sit on the tatami mats and be served by a tea master. The experience is a wonderful way to introduce young adults to a Japanese culture in an interactive way. 

Read about Urasenke here along with their contact info.

The bottom line is, whether you are renting a Kailua Villa or a villa in Honolulu, make use of Waikiki as a place for great dining and entertainment at all price points - and there are spots to enjoy and learn about Hawaiian and Japanese culture.

Exotic Estates Oahu Vacation Villas

Also, be sure to check out Exotic Estates' many quality Oahu vacation homes for your next visit to Hawaii's most iconic island.  Here's some inspiration for you - there are more where these came from!

Lanikai Historic Walker Oceanfront Home

This luxury Oahu vacation home, which sits over the pristine, clear blue waters of reef-protected Lanikai Beach, was constructed in the early 30s. It was been lovingly restored, keeping a quaint Hawaii cottage feel with modern conveniences, including a modern kitchen with classic retro design elements. There is a main house and a guest house as well as a "boat house" above the garage with a separate entrance. In all the home can accommodate up to 14 guests so this is an ideal property for a large family vacation!

Royal Hawaiian Villa - 6 Bedroom

This home is ideal for those who know and love Oahu and are looking for a private piece of paradise to host an unforgettable vacation with friends and family. This is pure Hawaii. The villa's six bedrooms that can host up to 12 people and all come with air conditioning to ensure comfort all year long.

Royal Hawaiian Villa - Waimanalo

Royal Hawaiian Villa - Waimanalo

Summer Vacation in Cabo urn:uuid:4745685d-0e53-1c8a-3256-11ec5b8559fd 2018-01-03T16:29:49-07:00 A Big Thanks to Everyone Who Entered the Exotic Cabo Villa Escape Sweeps!

We are pleased to announce that our winner Bryttnii, had an amazing time at Casa Cortez Beach Villa with her family.

Bryttnii and her family traveled to Los Cabos, courtesy of Alaska Airlines and they also enjoyed a romantic sunset dinner on the beach with Cabo Adventures.

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Sweepstakes

Bryttnii sent us some photos, along with a recap of her vacation.

"Our trip was amazing! The weather was perfect and staying at the villa was like living in a dream for a week. We barely wanted to leave the house to explore Cabo. It had everything we needed, and more, to help make our vacation complete and it definitely made it difficult to come home. We also upgraded our sailboat excursion to a romantic sunset dinner on the beach and everything was beautiful and exquisite. Can’t wait to go back and explore more of Cabo. Thanks again for everything!"

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Sweepstakes


Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Sweepstakes

We are so glad to hear that Bryttnii and her family had an amazing time at their Exotic Estates Villa! To all who entered - and those who didn't - keep watching our Facebook page as we will be announcing more exciting sweepstakes in the near future - and more chances to win an epic villa vacation!

Written by Shanon Searls

We are Coco-NUTS for the Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour! urn:uuid:6428b5ab-f60f-2a4a-1687-5eba53d84b85 2017-08-17T02:25:04-07:00 By Shanon Searls

On our recent trip to Maui to tour and inspect our Maui Villas, we had the opportunity to experience the Coconut Farm Tasting Tour at Punakea Palms.

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm TourPhoto courtesy Punakea Palms

If you are looking for a truly unique, fun and educational experience during your Maui vacation, this is the place to be! At Punakea Coconut Farm tour, not only will you get to taste fresh, young coconuts, but you will learn what makes this seed is so special!

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

The tour is in Lahaina in the West Maui mountains (very close to several Exotic Estate vacation villas) and is completely hands-on from start to finish. This educational tour operates daily and the owners and guides are passionate about sharing awareness of the coconut!

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

As you walk along the property, prepare yourself for the amazing views of not only the farm, but the beautiful Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands.

Maui has the perfect climate to grow healthy coconut trees and the Punakea family farm has grown each coconut tree by hand, having started the first plants 12 years ago. Since, over 250 beautiful coconut-palms have been sprouted and each tree showcases coconuts growing at every stage of life.

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

No matter what time of year you visit, you will get to see the fruits of their labor as coconut trees produce continuously throughout the year and Punakea Farms gets over 10,000 coconuts yearly!

The farm is not just limited to coconuts, you will also see many other native tropical plans such as limes, bananas, papayas, avocados, mangos, pineapples, sugar cane, and a citrus orchard.

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

The tour starts from the ground-up (literally) showing you the simplicity of the farm and explaining how they maintain the soil for healthy trees. You will learn about the amazing life cycle of the coconut tree and how they have become one of the most productive crops on earth.

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

You will learn why the coconut is so important in Hawaiian history and culture and why it’s important to keep spreading awareness today!

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

Now that you know a little more about the coconut, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Learn how to open a coconut at various stages of life and learn about many ways this yummy nut can improve your health and make delicious recipes. You will get to drink straight from a freshly cracked coconut and you will even make your own coconut milk, which you will get to take home with you!

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm Tour

Exotic Estates Maui Vacation Rentals, Punakea Palms Coconut Farm TourPhoto courtesy of Punakea Palms

This AWESOME tour lasts about 2.5 hours and runs by appointment only. This is a great experience for couples, families and corporate outings, and private tours can also be arranged. Starting at just $39 for kids and $49 for adults, don’t miss out on this charming opportunity to experience the incredible tour of Punakea Palms!

Punakea Palms also books larger events such as weddings or corporate parties. An experience not to be missed, schedule your tour today! 

The Big Island Beckons urn:uuid:4553b8e4-cce8-6638-1cff-c393a12b413f 2019-11-10T18:26:12-07:00 On our recent trip to inspect our Hawaiian Vacation Villas, we had the opportunity to explore the Big Island while inspecting our collection of Big Island luxury homes.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas

As soon as you arrive on the Big Island, you can immediately feel the “Mana,” or energy of the island. Although this is the biggest Hawaiian island it is also the youngest. Remarkable for more than just its size, the Big Island also features one of the most active volcanoes in the world, beautiful black-sand beaches, world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, and many more adventures!

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Tours Lava Rock

The diverse terrain of the Big Island comes from being born of fire. Here, you will find the high mountains of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai, Kohala, and Kilauea. Mauna Loa, which encompasses over half of the island, is the largest shield volcano on earth. The entire island is about the same size of Connecticut, spanning about 4,050 square miles (and still growing from volcanic activity).

Perhaps still not as popular as Oahu or Maui, the Big Island is not to be missed!  The island is truly immense and diverse, boasting lush tropical landscapes, a western plain-like central plateau that is home to one of the largest cattle ranches in America,  rugged otherworldy lava fields, and a massive umbrella of blue sky that encompasses it all!

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas

Our ultimate goal is to serve as a valued consultant in your quest for the best vacation home for your group and budget. To achieve this, we inspect our inventory on a regular basis to stay familiar with our luxury villas and ensure that our homes  will offer a relaxing and comfortable getaway for you and your group! Take a tour of our gorgeous Big Island Villas and learn why this beautiful island should be on your must-see list.

Arriving in the Big Island

Arriving at Kailua-Kona Airport on the Big Island is a quintissentially Hawaiian experience, with an outdoor airport set in the lava fields and planes that are met by stairs, old-school style.  Because the airport is so small, it is easy to find your way to your rental car by means of a shuttle.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Arriving on the Big Island


While the airport may be small, it is still well-serviced by many US carriers, including nonstop service from the US West coast by Alaska, American, Delta,  Hawaiian and United. Connections to Kailua-Kona are available from Honolulu and Maui by way of Hawaiian Airlines. 

As you prepare to land in Kailia-Kona, be sure to look out of the window to view the vast landscape of old and new lava. Quite a different scene than the green neighboring islands!

For those lucky guests who will be staying at an Exotic Estates Big Island vacation villa, before heading to your home, we suggest making a quick stop at the Costco in Kona to stock up on a few items. Be sure to grab some fresh local fruit and a bottle of wine for stargazing while in the hot tub; the skies put on an amazing display on the Big Island, home to the Keck Telescope. 

The Kohala Coast, stretching north of Kona, is dotted with well-planned resort communities. The development began with the Mauna Kea Resort and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel – still a great hotel offering one of the best swimming beaches in Hawaii. Interestingly, the hotel has a blue-blood pedigree, having been founded by the Laurance S. Rockefeller Company; we are told he scoured the Hawaiian Islands by helicopter until he found the perfect spot for his hotel! 

Big Island of Hawaii Map with Resorts

As you start your journey along the west coast of the Big Island, notice the gorgeous scenery and space that surrounds you. On clear days or early in the morning, you may catch a glimpse of the towering Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa.  As you drive through, you are truly immersed in a landscape unlike any other in the United States. From lava deserts to warm beaches to cooler highlands, the island offers striking and diverse views. You will certainly be adding the Big Island to your list of favorite vacation spots!

Exotic Estates Big Island Villas

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Tours Big Island Villas

From Kailua to Waimea, many of our Big Island Villas are located on championship golf courses and offer stunning ocean and fairway views. They also feature gorgeous private pools and Jacuzzis, en-suite bathrooms, gourmet kitchens, and beautiful lava-rock outdoor showers. With so many high-quality villas providing a luxury experience in such a unique and historic location, the Big Island beckons!

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Tours Outdoor shower

Whether you need three bedrooms or six, you are sure to find the perfect villa in our collection to fit your needs. From a couples retreat to a multi-generational family getaway, the Big Island has something wonderful to offer everyone!

Big Island Villa Inspection Exotic Estates


Located only minutes south of Kona International Airport, Historic Kailua Village (also referred to as Kailua-Kona) is a gorgeous coastal town in the heart of the sunny Kona Coast. Those who would like to stay in this area can enjoy a stay a Kona Sunset Villa, offering three bedrooms and a luxurious private pool area.

Hualalai Resort

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Golf ResortExotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Resort

Hualalai Resort is world-famous for exclusivity and charm. The vacation homes here offer the privacy of a villa with a convenience of a resort. These goregoues villas are usually only short golf cart ride from the Hualalai Resorts Sports Club & Spa, the Golf Club and restaurants. Guests enjoy access to the Four Seasons Resort with a fee. 

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Resort Villas

Here are just a few of the fabulous homes we inspected at the Hualalai Resort!

Big Island Hainoa Villa

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas

Hualalai Golf Villa

Big Island Hualalai Villa

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Resort


Further north you will find Waikoloa Resort, which is where the Hilton and Marriot hotels are located. In this resort you will find two championship golf courses, golden sand beaches, and the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Park.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Waikoloa Resort

Our favorite in this area is the  Reef Walk Oceanfront Villa, which can accommodate up to 8 guests and features gorgeous blue floors and a ceiling that resembles the clouds. The elegant finishing will amaze, as well as the unique theme assigned to each bedroom.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Waikoloa Resort

The master suite is a private retreat that boasts a gorgeous ocean view and features an indoor hot tub.  With receding doors that open fully to a private outdoor garden, you can enjoy your tropical environment in the outdoor lava-rock shower! 


Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Puako Hylton

As we continued along the coast, we had to opportunity to inspect a true gem, The Puako Hylton which sits beachfront and offers 4 luxurious bedrooms and has the ability to accommodate 10 people.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Tours Puako Hylton

This stunning Big Island vacation rental is situated in one of the island's oceanfront communities on the sunny Kohala Coast. Designed in an exotic Balinese-style, you will feel immersed in tropical luxury at The Puako Hylton Beach Villa. This home is the ultimate in idyllic Hawaiian vacation escapes. Its unique design offering both privacy and ample common living areas, as well as its ocean front location, makes it favorite for all groups!

Mauna Kea Resort

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea resort

This beautiful resort community gets its namesake from the tallest mountain in Hawaii. The resort offers luxury villas in a prime location along the Kohala Coast while embracing the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

The Mauna Kea Beach hotel was one of the first to feature a now classic open design that allows breezes to flow freely through the structure. However, as nice as the hotel is, the amazing vacation homes that surround it are the real draw for our clients and people in the know!

Some of our favorites in this resort area are Mauna Kea Mid Century Villa, Mauna Kea Titleist Villa, and Mauna Kea Resort Villa.  

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Golf Resort

Many families have been renting Mauna Kea villas for years, because the area is gated, well-maintained, offers peace and quiet, exceptional golfing and beach access - and relative value versus the other islands. The area is in higher demand today, but, for now, you can still find first-class vacation homes at a lower price point than Maui and Oahu. 

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Golf Resort

One of the best parts about staying in a vacation home on the Mauna Kea Resort, or its sister property, the Hapuna Resort, is that guests get access to the incredible, fully serviced beach at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, as well as the pool, for just $65 a day. This is a no-brainer considering the incredible facilities and amazing beach, which is ideal for swimming due to its sandy bottom, a plus on the rugged and coral-heavy Kohala Coast. 

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Golf Resort

The beach is accessible to the public, but on busy days access is limited and having a resort pass will ensure that you have a place in the sand! Also, like many of the resort areas along the Kohala Coast, there are excellent golf courses to be enjoyed here, and many of the homes look out onto the greens and fairways.

Exotic Estates Big Island Inspection Villas Mauna Kea Golf Resort

Thank you for taking our tour with us! Be the first to view our new Big Island video and see how Exotic Estates is working hard to make your vacation dreams come true. See you in Hawaii! 


Written by Shanon Searls

Villa Inspections and Tours in Kailua, Oahu urn:uuid:42bd6799-57ee-9ac6-1023-298bc33ae5f1 2018-05-31T10:26:51-07:00 For many people, the Hawaiian Island of Oahu is associated with bustling Waikiki Beach.  While we love Waikiki and all the entertainment and dining that it has to offer, little Kailua draws visitors year after year for its small-town charm, ease of access and world-class beaches.

Exotic Estates recently conducted a regular inspection of  luxury vacation villas across Hawaii, and toured many of the incredible homes located in the dreamy town of Kailua on Oahu. 

Driving to Kailua

Oahu is relatively easy to reach, with many nonstop flights into Honolulu from US West Coast and East Coast cities.  Once in your rental car, Kailua is about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu International Airport.

Kailua is located on the other side of the Nuuanu Pali, which is basically the mountain pass that divides the south shore of the Oahu, where Honolulu is located, and the Windward side where Kailua and Kaneohe are situated. 

Exotic Estates View from Nuuanu Pali

The Windward side of the island is Oahu’s greenest side.  This is because the Pacific trade winds blow rain-heavy clouds into the towering Koolau Mountains, which resemble a giant green curtain.  Very often, guests staying on the Windward side will wake to see waterfalls cascading down the sharp mountain peaks, into the narrow ridges and ravines that give the range their distinctive Polynesian look.

View of Koolau Mountains on Windward Side of Oahu

Why is Kailua so Popular?

Kailua is Cute - Kailua resembles a quaint American beach town, with quiet neighborhoods and local markets.

Amazing Beaches - Protected by reefs, Kailua always offers family-friendly beaches with calm, clean waters for swimming.

Variety of Homes - There are a great variety of vacation villas in Kailua.

Easy City Access - Honolulu and Wakiki, and all their activities, are just a short ride over the Pali.

Kailua – Popular with Presidents and Celebrities Alike

Kailua remains popular because it retains the feel of a small, family-friendly town, with shops, restaurants and easy-going people.  Also, its famous beach park has been awarded “world’s best beach” many times over.  Because of these reasons, Kailua is where the Obama family (the former President is an Oahu native), as well as many celebrities in the know, choose to vacation when in Hawaii. People understandably love this charming little town and come back year after year.

Exotic Estates Vacation Villas in Kailua

Exotic Estates offers many vacation villas in Kailua and its exclusive beachfront neighborhood of Lanikai.  All Exotic Estates' Kailua villas are of a high quality and offer something special for guests.  Some properties sit directly on the beach, while others sit above, on the hillsides, offering commanding views of the Pacific Ocean and the charming offshore Mokolua islands, known locally as “the Mokes.”

 Exotic Estates View of Mokulua Islands of Kailua Oahu

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals the Mokes view

Guests staying in Kailua will have access to all the services that they need to ensure a pleasant stay.  From familiar grocery stores to  charming restaurants, Kailua delivers all the comforts of home, and one of the most beautiful, family-friendly beaches in the world.

A Few Standout Kailua Vacation Villas

Lanikai Historic Walker Oceanfront Estate

One of our favorite homes in Kailua is the Historic Walker Oceanfront Estate.  This celebrated home is located directly at the ocean’s edge, and boasts idyllic beach views from the living room and backyard.  The pale blue Pacific Ocean sparkles with light, creating a stunning Pacific Isles backdrop for your vacation.

The home has an interesting pedigree in Hawaii.  The builder and original owner was once employed by Queen Liliuokalani, the last Queen of Hawaii. He built the home back when Kailua was a day's journey from Honolulu.  Luckily for our guests, the home is easy to reach and has been lovingly restored. 

The Historic Walker Oceanfront Estate accommodates up to 14 guests, and includes a main home and a cottage referred to as the boathouse.  Because of its location on the ocean in its proximity to Kailua Beach Park, the home books well in advance. If you are interested and want a truly knockout location, you can't do much better than this special Kailua vacation villa.

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Lanikai Historic Walker Oceanfront

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Lanikai Historic Walker Oceanfront Front

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Lanikai Historic Walker Oceanfront View

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals Surfboard Shower

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals

Paul Mitchell Villa at Lanikai

Built by the famous hairstylist Paul Mitchell, the Paul Mitchell Villa at Lanikai is one of the most unique vacation home compounds in all of Hawaii.  Situated behind a large gate, this massive estate offers absolute privacy, tropical fantasy, stunning oceanfront views and impressive exotic architecture. 

The landscaping is breathtaking, with fishponds and waterfalls creating a shimmering and vibrant oasis of tropical scents, sounds and sights. The home has seven bedrooms, seven baths and accommodates 14 guests.  Looking for a compound to house family and friends for a milestone event - make it extra special here at the Paul Mitchell Villa at Lanikai. 

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Paul Mitchell Lanikai Villa - Pool

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Oahu Villa - Paul Mitchell Lanikai Villa - Mokes View

Pacific White House Rental at Kailua

The Pacific White House has a presidential pedigree.  This home has hosted the Obama family as well as in many celebrities over the years.  The property boasts incredible detailing and an amazing Lagoon-like pool, complete with waterfall.  The property has a massive backyard that looks out to a quiet section of the beach, and with over 4000 square feet, the home comfortably accommodates 10 guests.

Photos do not do this home justice, as it truly has a regal (Presidential) feel and an unmatched private setting.

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals Pacific White House Obama Vacation Rental

Exotic Estate Oahu Vacation Rentals Obama Vacation Rental


Contact Exotic Estates' Villa Specialists to learn more about renting a luxury vacation villa in lovely Kailua on Oahu. They will share their first-hand knowledge of the homes and area with you, and connect you with the best home for your family or group!

Written by Shanon Searls

Maui Villa Tours & Inspections urn:uuid:4c6cafeb-d7da-5d0d-105a-dd4bbeea5184 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 By Shanon Searls

Among many qualities that sets Exotic Estates apart in the vacation rental market, is that we regularly inspect our villas in our most popular destinations. Recently, our team traveled to Hawaii to tour villas on three islands, some old, some new, but all equally amazing in quality!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kaanapali Coffee Farms

When you are looking rent a luxury vacation home in Hawaii, you want to be sure that you are in good hands and that the people you are working with know the home and can speak to its qualities first-hand.  With Exotic Estates, you can rest assured that our team has your interests at heart and will use their personal knownledge and expertise to connect you with the ideal home.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection

During our inspection process, there is a detailed amenities checklist that is completed and is then transferred into our central database to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your vacation homes features and services. Not only is this done when we acquire a home, but at least bi-annually we are completing tours and walk-throughs to keep our records accurate and up-to-date.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Shanon

During our recent Maui tour, our schedule was packed full of home inspections. With several Maui vacation villas on this gorgeous island, we spent five days touring and inspecting amazing homes. The limited time we had between, we spent sightseeing and exploring the local Maui shops and restaurants so that we could provide you with first-hand experiences on all the best places to discover.

Although Maui isn’t the biggest Hawaiian Island, there are plenty of beautiful and unique areas to choose from when seeking an ideal vacation home for your group!

Maui Villa Tours

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection

Upon arriving in Maui, we stayed in the bustling town of Lahaina where you will find a plethora of gorgeous vacation homes, yummy local restuarants, a town full of shopping and a coastline of beautiful gold-sand beaches.

Lahaina - Stocking Up on Local Eats

We stopped at the local Foodland, which is a great place to stock up for your vacation and the spot where you will see locals shopping as well.  If you are brave, there is a great selection of local foods, including my favorite, Poke!!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection


Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Poke


We started our tour at the Montage Condos at Kapalua, just north of Lahaina Town. Kapalua, which means “arms embracing the sea” is one of Maui’s premier resort areas and sits as the base of the West Maui Mountains and along the gorgeous western coast of Maui. The shoreline of Kapalua features gorgeous bays where you can snorkel, sun bathe, and even swim with the turtles.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kapalua Montage Condos

Home to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, you will find a plethora of boutiques, delicious local dining, historical sites, and world-class golf courses.

Guests who stay at the Montage can enjoy the many perks that come with the unit, including two complimentary parking spaces as well as free Wi-Fi. Guests may also take advantage of the free Kapalua Shuttle Service to reach nearby restaurants, golf courses or beaches. In addition, as a courtesy, the guests may also use the gym at "Spa Montage" for a nominal daily fee. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kapalua

The views from these condos are gorgeous, and each is privately owned and features comfortable and luxurious amenities. The furnishings and decor reflect each owner's personal and unique style!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kapalua Montage Condos

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kapalua Condos

From the Montage, we drove over to the Plantation Estate which is truly one of our favorite Maui Villas. Recently renovated, this luxury villa is truly exquisite and offers incredible ocean and golf-course views. We made a quick pit-stop at the Honulua Store, which is an adorable general store that has been recently renovated and features food, drinks and gift items. I grabbed a yummy chicken salad and pre-biotic drink but there was also a custom sandwich shop and plenty of delicious local options. This is perfect to grab a snack on your way to the beach!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection

Located on 2-acres of the upscale Plantation Estates resort living community, this home overlooks the 18th Green of the world-famous PGA Tour Kapalua Plantation Golf Course, there is no doubt that this is a golfer’s paradise. From all parts of this 6,200-square foot home, glory in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean before you, and enjoy the most ideal vantage point to perfectly gaze between the outer islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Plantation Estate

When you walk in this home the large and bright spaces are breathtaking and you can see the sparkling blue pool and ocean from the front door. The large kitchen is a dream and is perfect for large groups or multi-generational families. There are two sides of the home, both with large and spacious bedrooms which are warmly decorated with the islands in mind.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Plantation Estate

From the beautiful kitchen counter tops to the large bathtubs, no attention to detail has been spared at this home. The master bathroom is HUGE and features a gorgeous shower that makes you feel like you are outdoors. Wake up to views of the ocean and enjoy all the amazing amenities this home has to offer!

Napili and Kaanapali

Exotic Estates has a handful of homes in the Kaanapali and Napili area. Both of these spots offer special charms, with some home on the ocean and others higher up on the hill, affording you expansive views of the outer islands - ideal for sunset lovers.  Just north of Lahaina Town, Kaanapali is technically party of Lahaina although it feels like its own small town.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kaanapali Coffee Farms


Kaanapali is the first planned resort destination of Maui and it boasts one of the most gorgeous beaches on the island. This town also has many activities that can be great for any type of group such as Luau’s at the famous Old Lahaina Luau, golfing, snorkeling, cliff diving off Black Rock and even zip lining.

Kaanapali is also home to the Kaanapali Coffee farms, which is a private agricultural community that fuses contemporary island living into the plentiful farming culture of Maui. Established in 2003, this is an amazing area to rent your vacation home and features the fresh fragrance of the coffee flower as the warm Maui breeze blows from the Pacific!

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach is a gold-sand beach that ends at Black Rock (a large volcanic rock formation where you will often see brave cliff-divers). The snorkeling at this beach is often amazing but beware of shallow waters and sharp reef. Although this beach borders the hotels, no beach in Maui is private and you can park in one of the hotel parking lots, from where it's usuall just a short walk to the beach.  During the day enjoy snorkeling with the kids and in the evening, you can have a drink at the hotel bar.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Kaanapali Beach


The drive from Kapalua down south to neighboring Napili and Kaanapali is easy and allows visitors the chance to stop off at some of the amazing beaches that dot the sparkling blue Pacific.

We took a quick stop at lush and green Napili Bay, the perfect place to snorkel and an almost guaranteed spot to see sea turtles. This is also the location of Napili Cove Villa.


On day two of our tours, we spent most of the day in Lahaina. One of the most visited spots in Maui, Lahaina is an eclectic mix of history, local restaurants, boutiques and art-galleries.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Lahaina Town

Lahaina town is completely walkable and is within a 5-10 minutes’ drive from most West Maui vacation villas. Some of our favorites are nestled right in the mix, such as Turtle Beach Villa and Blue Sky Villa.

Take a walk along Front Street and you will see over 40 fine art galleries. An artist-lover's mecca, there are many known galleries such as the Wyland Gallery, which is where we like to stop in when we come here.  In fact, every Friday night from 7-10 PM the galleries offer “Art Night,” which is a great opportunity to see and maybe even aquire a fabulous piece of Maui-inspired art!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Fleetwood Macs

Every Sunday, head to one the most famous landmarks in Lahaina, the Banyan Tree. This massive and majestic tree was planted in 1873 by the Sheriff to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Mission and still stands in all its glory today. Here you will find a collection of local artists as you take a tour around the tree. My favorite stop on our last visit was at the Maui Dog Wear stand where I purchased an adorable sea-turtle bandana for my pup back home.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Lahaina Town Banyan Tree

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Dog Wear

For a fun history lesson, make a stop at the Baldwin House (read more about this on our blog here). Afterwards, walk right across the street for a delicious Dole Whip (trust me, it’s YUMMY)!

The homes in Lahaina are comfortable, luxurious, and feature amazing views on the coastline, Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding islands of Lanai and Molokai. Each home is inspected by our team, and again by the property manager just prior to your arrival to ensure that everything is in top-notch condition for your stay.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui Makena Hoku

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Vacation Rentals


Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Maui Vacation Rentals

Our excellence standard checklist is extensive and we keep our guests in mind as we tour each home. From kitchen appliances, to bathrooms, water pressure, and bed linens, we walk-through the home as though we are staying there to guarantee a quality experience.

Kihei & Wailea

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui Kihei and Wailea

On day three of our home inspection tour, we headed south to Kihei and Wailea.  Kihei is a sunny and somewhat drier area of Maui located on the southwest shore. It features six miles of beaches with amazing views of Kahoolawe (the smallest Hawaiian island that was used briefly as penal colony for sheep and cattle ranching and was eventually transferred to the U.S. Navy to use as a bombing range), Molokini, Lanai and West Maui.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui Kihei

There is much to do in this area, such as swimming and surfing, snorkeling and Kayaking, and when the season is right the Whale Watching is magnificent. The town of Kihei also has reasonable accommodations and is close to restaurants, farmer’s markets, and a fun nightlife.

We toured South Maui Parkside Villa, a great family-friendly vacation home, which features spectacular oceanfront views and can host up to eight guests, with just enough space for everyone to enjoy.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection South Maui Park Side Villa

South Maui Park Side Villa features tile and wood flooring, light wood cabinets, multiple lounge areas located on the top and bottom level, indoor/outdoor dining, covered furnished lanai and comfortable Hawaiian themed furnishings throughout the home. The kitchen, dining room, lounge area, and first guest bedroom is located on the lower level of the home. The remainder of the bedrooms are located on the upper level, as well as a second living and entertainment room. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection South Maui Park Side Villa

Since South Maui Park Side Villa is located directly next to a large park and along the Maui coastline, the home offers a great area for guests to walk in the morning or afternoon.  The owner shared with us that this home is perfect for those who are looking to be close to town (2 minutes’-walk to Starbucks) and experience some local Maui action such as pick-up soccer games.

Paia Town & the North Shore

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Banyan Cove

On our fourth day of touring, we headed over to the wonderful town of Paia and Maui's North Shore. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Paia Maui North Shore

Paia town is an eclectic collection of old plantation-town-style buildings that form the town's Main Street. Close to its bustling little shopping and entertainment district are the homes that ring the north coast and draw those guests looking for a more quiet, local Maui vacation experience. This adorable little town often gets lumped in with an excursion to Hana, but we suggest taking a little more time to dedicate!

You will definitely feel the local vibe in Paia and you will find this throughout the many boutiques and restaurants as well. Rather than the resort-minded tourists who flock to the large hotels,  you are likely to see a pro surfer and kids playing barefoot in the surround neighborhoods or buying groceries at the local organic grocery store - Mana Foods.

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Maui Inspection Paia Maui North Shore

Although we suggest trying just about any restaurant, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to visit the deli counter at Mana Foods, which is great for picking up a picnic lunch! I also stopped into Biasa Rose boutique, which features consignment clothing, perfect for those who want a unique item of clothing to wear back home.

You also don’t want to miss Pakaloha Bikinis where you can customize your bathing suite. Choose from the menu of styles and colors and get a custom fit Maui bikini!

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui Bikini

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui

Just north of town sits Maui Winds and Banyan Cove, each the perfect vacation rental for those who want to be on the north side of Maui. You only a short distance from Paia, gorgeous beaches, and world-class surfing! Mama’s Fish House is outstanding and it less than 100 steps away. 

Exotic Estates Vacation Rental Inspections Maui Banyan Cove

As our time in Maui came to an end, I was delighted that we have such an amazing inventory of vacation homes to offer our guests. We only work with owners and property managers who we trust, and who share our values and standards that put your vacation experience first.

When you work with an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist, you will soon see what sets us apart from the rest!

Cinco De Mayo urn:uuid:106ca4e2-3a97-70d6-d20f-7bd3c6ce0761 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 Cinco De Mayo

By Shanon Searls

Cinco De Mayo is widely celebrated and commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army against the French on May 5th, 1862.

Initially becoming popular thanks to promotions by US liquor and beer companies in the 1980’s, some mistake this fun holiday as Mexican Independence Day (which is actually September 16th). However, no matter where you might be celebrating, Cinco De Mayo is a great day to gather with friends and family and enjoy Mexican cuisine and libations!

Cinco De Mayo Margarita

History Lesson

If you are celebrating Cinco De Mayo while staying in one of our fabulous Cabo Villas, impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

Even though May 5th is not a national holiday in Mexico, it’s an official holiday in the state of Puebla where the actual battle took place. This was a violent and chaotic time in Mexico’s history, occurring after Mexico had gained independence from Spain in 1821.

During this period of battle, Mexico had accumulated massive debt to several nations. In 1861, Benito Juarez was elected as the president of Mexico and in response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz demanding their repayment. Although Spain and Britain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew forces, France was ruled by Napoleon III who used this as an opportunity to take over Mexico.

In late 1861, a well-manned French army stormed Veracruz, driving President Juaraz and his command into withdrawal. The battle was essentially fought between 6,000 French troops and an unkempt force of 2,000 of Juarez’s men who were poorly supplied and outnumbered. Regardless, the battle lasted from daybreak to evening and the French eventually retreated, having lost nearly 500 soldiers while fewer than 100 Mexicans were killed.

Although this isn’t known as a major strategic win, the Battle of Puebla on May 5th represented a symbolic victory for the Mexican government.

Now that you know what you are celebrating, here’s a guide on where to observe this holiday!

Los Cabos Celebrations

San Jose Del Cabo Art Walk

Cinco De Mayo San Jose Del Cabo Art Walk

This popular weekly event is held every Thursday evening from 5 to 9 PM from October through June. The Art walk was created by the Gallery District Association, allowing tourists and locals to explore the colorful and artistic filled streets of San Jose Del Cabo.  The main street is shut off from vehicles, allowing everyone to walk and enjoy an evening stroll through the area while they visit art galleries and enjoy wine and cuisine from local restaurants. This is a great way to kick-off May 5 celebrations!

Cabo San Lucas Bar Hopping

Cinco De Mayo Cabo San Lucas

What a better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than by enjoying drinks in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico?!

Latitude 22 – this fun bar features a Los Cabos history lesson, and is decorated with old photos of old fishing contests and gigantic catches. The walls are also adorned with life preservers from old vessels giving it an old-time nautical ambience and celebrating what Los Cabos is known for, deep sea fishing!  Offering amazing views of Land’s End, take a seat at the bar or choose an old-fashioned booth where you can enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner.

Baja Brewing Company – Baja California Sur’s first brewery features an amazing view of Land’s End from Medano Beach. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner, with menu options ranging from hamburgers to filet-mignon.  Don’t forget to grab one of their delicious beers on tap, we suggest ordering a flight so you can try them all!

Slims Elbow Room – as you can tell by the name, this fun little dive is known as the “world’s smallest bar.”  There are only four seats at the bar, and two standing room spots at the front window. Enjoy country music and a shot of tequila while you tell your friends what you learned about Cinco de Mayo. Due to limited space, we usually just grab a drink and take a photo before heading out to the next stop!

Cabo Wabo – one of Cabo’s most famous bars, Cabo Wabo Cantina has been around for 20 years and comes with a Rock-n-Rock pedigree, originally started by Sammy Hagar. Stop by and enjoying live music, food and drinks.   There’s also a patio where you can enjoy burgers and cocktails. In honor of the holiday, we suggest a traditional margarita!

Hawaii Celebrations

Cinco De Mayo Honolulu Block Party

Honolulu Block Party

If you happen to be in on Oahu, hopefully in one of Exotic Estates’ luxury vacation villas, for Cinco De Mayo, you don’t want to miss out on this block party! Taking place in historic and trendy Chinatown, this event is free to the public and highlights the arts, music, and cuisine of Latin America.

Local Mexican restaurants will feature seasonal specialties and you can also enjoy live DJ’s and dancing. This will all take place on Friday, May 5, 2017 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Downtown, Chinatown - Nuuanu Street, between Puuahi & King Streets and Hotel Street between Smith & Bethel Streets.

As always, celebrate this holiday safely and download Uber or Lyft or designate a sober driver. Have fun!


Surf’s Up – Maui Edition urn:uuid:7f62aa58-6841-ac3a-ec36-6897d205c133 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 Surf’s Up – Maui Edition

By Shanon Searls

Whether you are novice or pro, Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world to catch waves.  Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, so it is easy to feel the soul of this wonderful sport in the warm Hawaiian waters.

With warm water year-round, surfing in Maui is a fun activity that anybody can enjoy! The ocean waters are crystal clear, giving you the chance to see tropical fish and a vibrant sea life in-between catching waves.

If you’re surfing during whale season, you might even get a glimpse of humpbacks breaching in the water and playing nearby. Many of those are spots are also home to sea turtles, making this experience truly unforgettable!

If you are planning a trip to Maui, we suggest you make time to catch some waves!  With the variety of gentle brakes and surf schools, the Hawaiian Islands are built for surfing.

Surfing History

Surfing in Maui, Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals, Hawaii Surfing

Although Tahitian’s are said to have occasionally stood up on the boards, Hawaiians are credited for inventing the art of surfing upright on long boards, where surfing was perfected!

The first written account of surfing was made by Lieutenant James King, who became the First Lieutenant of The Discovery after Captain James Cook was killed by Hawaiians ( he made a misguided attempt to kidnap their high chief to force the return of a stolen boat!). Lieutenant King was given the task of completing the narrative portion of Cook’s journals, where King devoted two pages to a description of surfboard riding…

“But a diversion the most common is upon the Water, where there is a very great Sea, and surf breaking on the Shore. The Men sometimes 20 or 30 go without the Swell of the Surf, & lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan about their Size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, & their Arms are us'd to guide the plank, they wait the time of the greatest Swell that sets on Shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing Velocity, & the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the Swell, & as it alters its direct. If the Swell drives him close to the rocks before he is overtaken by its break, he is much prais'd. On first seeing this very dangerous diversion I did not conceive it possible but that some of them must be dashed to mummy against the sharp rocks, but jus before they reach the shore, if they are very near, they quit their plank, & dive under till the Surf is broke, when the piece of plank is sent many yards by the force of the Surf from the beach. The greatest number are generally overtaken by the break of the swell, the force of which they avoid, diving and swimming under the water out of its impulse. By such like exercises, these men may be said to be almost amphibious. The Women could swim off to the Ship, & continue half a day in the Water, & afterwards return. The above diversion is only intended as an amusement, not a tryal of skill, & in a gentle swell that sets on must I conceive be very pleasant, at least they seem to feel a great pleasure in the motion which this Exercise gives.”

From 1778 to today, not much has changed in the way of surfing Maui waves! Even though Waikiki and the North Shore of Oahu are known as the surfing meccas, Maui has its own famous surf spots to share with the world.

Whether you’re looking to learn or watch the pros do their thing, Maui has plenty of options no matter where your vacation rental is located.

For first-time surfers, you will want to head to less intimidating spots generally located in West and South Maui; this is the area where Exotic Estates has several oceanfront luxury Maui villas

Another fun option is to learn how to standup paddle board (SUP), which is a great way to get an introduction to board sports on the ocean. If you are a first timer, we highly recommend that you take a lesson to make sure you stay safe. Exotic Estates can connect you to the most reputable local surf and SUP teachers.

To find the best surf school near your vacation rental, contact your Villa Specialist today!

Experienced Surfers

Surfing Maui, Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals

For those with surfing experience, be sure to do your research before you check out the break.   The North Shore of Maui is where you’ll find the biggest and most consistent waves, but some of these areas are for advanced (expert) big-wave surfers only, as the waves can be huge, currents strong and the reef sharp and dangerous. Be sure to talk with local surfers and shops to get a comprehensive understanding of the area.

For those who are visiting Maui, respecting local surfers, who can be protective of their breaks, is a very good idea.  If you are not experienced, it is not advised to paddle out in  areas that are frequented by more advanced surfers (in Hawaii or anywhere). The issue, beyond crowding the waves, is that inexperienced surfers are a danger in Hawaiian waters, as the power of the ocean there is often much stronger than their home breaks.

With the increase of surfing traffic over the last 15 years, locals are not always happy about the large crowds.  But, if you bring plenty of Aloha spirit to the water, and are always respectful of those around you, you should have no issues This is another reason why going with a surf instructor of guide is a good idea, as they are often local, well-respected surfers themselves, who know the ins and outs of different breaks.

Now that you’re ready to catch some waves, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular surf spots in Maui!

Popular Surf Breaks

The Cove

The Cove at Kalama Beach Park in Kihei is the perfect spot for beginners! Surfers will love the consistent yet small waves that break most of the year, both right and left, in shallow water. The paddle out from the beach is short, and you can rent foam-top long boards right across the street from a few vendors. You can also find lessons and gear rentals nearby! The only drawback for this area is that it can become a little crowded, but there are only a few days of the year where the waves are too big for first-timers.

You can find parking available along the ocean side of the street and there is also small parking lot on the south end of the break. Restrooms and showers are available, along with a grassy park and skate-park. Bring a picnic to avoid the crowded restaurants and shops, and watch out for sea urchins in the water (booties can be easily rented nearby).


Located in West Maui, this surf break is very easily accessible from Honoapiilani Highway, which is only about 10 minutes south of Lahaina. These waves are perfect for beginners with long slow rolling brakes ideal for learning how to catch waves! This beach can also become a little crowded, so finding parking might be difficult.

Launiupoko is one of the most popular family beaches and it’s great for long boarding, SUP boarding, and even boogie boarding. There is also a small tide pool which is perfect for kids to play in.


This surf break is located right off Front Street, just south of the Harbor in Lahaina.  Although it can be hit or miss for beginner surfing, when the waves are small it’s the perfect spot to learn! Be aware that when large swells come in, it’s too dangerous for beginners to paddle out.

Another popular location, the crowds can get a little busy but free parking is available on Front Street.  For those who are not surfing, there’s also a sandy coastline, restaurants, and cafés. Close to the harbor, you will also find ships and sailboats which can be a fun experience for the entire family!

Kaanapali Beach

One of the most famous beaches in Maui, Kaanapali Beach is well known for its sandy coastline and gorgeous sunsets! The gentle waves usually break left and make for short but fun rides and is a great place for learning how to surf. You are also within walking distance two Whaler’s Village and there are plenty of restaurants and shops close by.

The waves are consistent and there are very few rocks making this one of our favorite spots for a family outing to the beach!

When visiting Maui, be sure to plan some time in the water!



April Events in Hawaii urn:uuid:d53f54fb-86df-a8f1-8217-858b1fb9bec0 2017-06-21T13:27:13-07:00 April Events in Hawaii

By Shanon Searls

With mostly sunny days and still without the throngs of tourists who come to Hawaii during the summer break, April is one of the best months to visit Hawaii! The weather is mild, with daytime temperatures averaging in the high 70s and low 80s and nighttime temps in the upper 60s. Except for the Easter week period, April can offer travelers value, with lower airfares and nightly villa rates.

The people of Hawaii also love to celebrate music, food and culture year-round, so you will find fun celebrations on every island, including the well-known Merrie Monarch Festival held every year on the Big Island of Hawaii, where Exotic Estates has plenty of amazing Big Island villas!

If you are one of the lucky people to be traveling to Hawaii this month, we have compiled a list of fun events to consider while you are relaxing in paradise!

Mele Mei – All Islands

Mele Mei is the celebration of Hawai’i’s music, culture, and hula dancing!  Events are held from April through June at various hotels and venues on the beach and statewide.

You can find musical celebrations featuring traditional Hawaiian music, island reggae and even some rock-and-roll! Mele Mei has something for everyone and events are featured weekly.

Merrie Monarch Festival – The Big Island

The Merrie Monarch Festival takes place annually during the week following Easter. The 2017 festival will be held April 16-22, 2017 and features an exciting week-long calendar of cultural events including Hawaii's most prestigious hula competition at Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium in Hilo.

Starting on Easter Sunday, the festival will kick-off with a Ho'olaule'a on Moku Ola (Coconut Island). On the following Wednesday, there is a free exhibition night at the stadium that begins at 6:00 p.m. On Thursday, you can experience the solo Miss Aloha Hula competition, one of our favorite events in Hawaii! On Friday and Saturday, there are also many hula competitions and then there is a grand parade through Hilo-town on Saturday morning.

One of Hawaii’s most popular events, don’t miss this exciting celebration of Hawaiian culture!

Kapalua Celebration of the Arts – Maui

From April 14-16th, The Ritz Carlton in Kapalua will host Hawaii’s most celebrated Artists, educators, speakers and entertainers during the 25th Annual Celebration of the Arts.

Experience hands-on art projects, demonstrations and exhibitions, and various films, panels, and music and dance performances. Considered one of Hawaii’s main cultural events, don’t miss this chance to celebrate the history and culture of Hawaii!

Luapahoehoe Music Festival – The Big Island

On April 8, 2017, take your family and friends to the 12th annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival! This event is held in the efforts to help raise funds to support the Laupahoehoe School and is an alcohol-free event.

From 10 am -3 pm on Saturday, enjoy various Hawaiian musicians and Hula performers, along with food, games, and handmade crafts. Savor a taste of Hawaii and Pan-Asian cooking, as the food offered ranges from Kalua Pork to Thai selections, as well as coffees, teas, lemonades and even Hawaiian shaved ice. There are also several craft booths and carnival style games!

24th Annual Ha’iku Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival – Maui

This is a fun local family event that allows you to mix with the local Maui community. The 24th Annual Ha`iku Ho’olaule’a (Roughly pronounced “Hi-koo Ho-o-l-au-lay-a” a fun tongue twister for Mainlanders!) and Flower Festival is held to benefit Haiku Elementary School and the Haiku Community Association and Boys & Girls Club. This event will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Haiku Elementary School in Haiku, Maui, and is free to all participants.

The event is open to both the Maui community and visitors alike, and everyone is invited to spend the day enjoying live entertainment, culinary delights from local Hawaiian restaurants and the experience the famous Haiku bake sale!

There is also one of the largest silent auctions on Maui, featuring floral design and lei making contests, a Haiku historical display, and plenty of activities for Keiki (young kids)!

15th Annual Waikiki Spam Jam Festival

The Waikiki Spam Jam is a popular street festival that celebrates Hawaii’s love of Spam, which is a canned meat from Hormel Foods.

If you have not already traveled to Hawaii, it doesn’t take long to notice that there is Spam at all grocery and convenience stores, many restaurants and even in most homes! You’ll notice spam musubi, a giant spam sushi snack, for sale at 7 Elevens across the islands. This street festival is fun for all ages, and visitors can enjoy a taste from Hawaii’s top restaurants, free entertainment (with two stages offering music and shows), and a variety of Hawaiian retailers.

Benefiting the Hawaiian foodbank, the event is a quirky, uniquely Hawaiian cultural celebration that the whole family can enjoy.

No matter where you rented your Exotic Estates' villa this April, we can help you find the best events that Hawaii has to offer. Talk to your Hawaii Villa Specialist today and see what events you can participate in during your stay!

Extreme Photography on The Big Island urn:uuid:a65b2e30-0ed4-7e56-3cdd-91dc416adada 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 Extreme Photography on The Big Island

By Shanon Searls

If you are vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii this season, document your experience on this unique and gorgeous Hawaiian island with  the extreme photography of Bruce Omori!  The exclusive photographer of Paradise Helicopters, Bruce captures the dramatic scenery of the Big Island, including stunning and unforgettable scenes of fiery volcanoes.

A Big Island Native, Bruce gave us some insight on where he finds his inspiration to capture the magic of this gorgeous Hawaiian Island!

In a recent interview with Exotic Estates, Bruce told us, “As true Big Island natives, we strive to capture the essence and spirit of our island in every image we shoot, from explosive volcanic action to soothing seascapes. The wonder and beauty of this tropical paradise, the same surroundings that have captivated our ‘ohana for generations, will be sure to leave a lasting impression upon you as well!”

Bruce Omori Photography, Big Island Vacation Rentals

When you get the chance to look at Bruce’s portfolio, the images make a lasting impression indeed!  From exploding hot lava, to crashing coastal waves, to stunning images of local Big Island Hawaiian wildlife, even the most discerning eye will be impressed with Bruce’s photos.

Bruce is based in Hilo, Hawaii and his passion for photography was sparked as a young child. Fascinated by the ability to capture striking images on film and share with his friends at school, this is still what inspires Bruce today.

After spendingyears with an engineering firm on Oahu, Bruce decided to leave his life in corporate America and pursue his dreams of becoming a professional photographer in his hometown. Bruce told us, “Born and raised on the Big Island, I took a lot for granted, as I was terribly oblivious to much around me… such as the beauty of our landscape, our extremely exotic native plants and animals, and the wonderful people who call Hawaii home. After days of sitting in traffic and standing in lines surrounded by concrete, my thoughts would often drift to a time when life was simple and pure and the landscapes were clean and uncluttered.”

Bruce Omori Photography, Big Island Vacation Rentals

Bruce Omori Photography, Big Island Vacation Rentals

In each image that he captures, Bruce strives to infuse elements of the moment into every frame.  If you are lucky enough to have a photo shoot with Bruce, you will notice that his easy-going and friendly personality is contagious!  You will also find his deep reverence for his Hawaiian home reflected in his work, whether it’s portraits of surfers on the beach, native Hawaiians deep in the forest, or the dreamlike scenery of flowing hot lava.

In addition to offering stunning  photos of your Hawaiian vacation, Bruce and his team provide professional photography services on the Big Island for weddings, events, portraits, sports, and any commercial needs.  Bruce uses only high quality equipment to create gorgeous images that will satisfy any requirement. 

Want to Learn?

If you are an aspiring photographer, you can join one of his group workshops which provide an enjoyable multi-day experience that combines the thrill of capturing stunning imagery with other people who share a passion for photography. You can also join a photography tour, where you can take advantage of Bruce and his local knowledge capture gorgeous photos around the Big Island of Hawaii.

If you would like to learn more,  head to today and look at Bruce and his team’s portfolio, and keep them in mind for your next event or adventure on the Big Island. Bruce is also available for family or couple’s portraits at your Big Island vacation villa, the perfect, shareable gift for all your family members!

New Villas in Cabo San Lucas urn:uuid:a5e148a6-6673-2763-fbc9-59ea380f363d 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 New Villas in Cabo San Lucas

By Shanon Searls

Cabo Villas, Private Pool, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates has taken over Cabo! With over 100 villas sprinkled across the exclusive areas of Los Cabos, we guarantee you will find the perfect villa for your Mexican retreat. Our collection of homes starts at around $500 per night and are located in the best neighborhoods, most of them private oceanfront communities that are gated. 

Cabo San Lucas has grown into a world-class destination, and it’s easy to see why with such beautiful beaches, first-rate shops and restaurants, and topnotch golf courses. Whether you pick a home that is close to the action or find a secluded retreat along the beach, our vacation rentals in Cabo are sure to make your experience unforgettable!

Summer Deals

If you are looking for an amazing deal, book now to take advantage of low summer rates, or get a jump-start on your plans for the fall. Take a look at some of our featured homes and get inspired for your trip! 

Summer is the low season here as the sun is shining across the Northern Hemisphere and beach options plentiful. But summer is still a fun time to visit, with very warm seas, a lively beach scene and - best of all - lower prices.

Cabo Casa Brisa del Mar

Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

This family-friendly Cabo villa features open and bright spaces, incredible views, a private pool and Jacuzzi and lots of charm! Offering four bedrooms, each features a king-size bed and air-conditioning. This beautiful home can accommodate up to 10 people and starting at just $900/night, it’s perfect for small families who want to be close to Cabo San Lucas.  

You and your guests will love the glorious views of the blue Pacific and all of the benefits from being inside the private and secure Pedregal neighborhood .The views are amazing and you are also just a short walk from the quiet expanse of Pedregal’s Pacific Ocean beach, where the water is blue and whales can be spotted offshore during the season!

The kitchen area is modern and offers all the comforts and conveniences of home. There is also plenty of counter space and the large oven is perfect for preparing family dinners, Mexican style!

Take your family to the quiet and beauty of Cabo’s Pedregal for vacation and enjoy comfortable living at Cabo Casa Brisa del Mar!

Cabo Villa Cielito

Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

This fabulous Cabo Villa is the perfect retreat for your vacation in Mexico! Located on the Chileno Bay, this seven-bedroom luxurious home offers fantastic panoramic views of the sparkling blue ocean and a delightful infinity pool.   

This vacation home features open living space and classic Mexican décor, the perfect place to retreat after fun days in the Mexican sun. There is also a gourmet kitchen, marble baths, comfortable furnishings, an entertainment system, and Wi-Fi - you won't want to go home!

Outside, you will find a gorgeous private pool that overlooks the ocean and guests can also unwind in the hammock that is pleasantly surrounded by tropical palm trees! There is also the option to dine alfresco in the evening and for the ultimate vacation experience, rinse off in the outdoor shower.

One of the best parts of this Cabo Villa is that it is within walking distance to the ocean where you can enjoy many ocean activities such as swimming and snorkeling, or kayaking and wind surfing for the more adventurous! It is short 15-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas and only 20 minutes from San Jose del Cabo making it the perfect location in Los Cabos.

This villa can also host weddings or other special events and can accommodate up to 60 guests. Ask our villa specialists for more information! 

Cabo Villa Maria

Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

This incredible Cabo San Lucas vacation villa is located on top of the hill, in the gated community of Pedregal and features more than 7,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor living and boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the Pedregal hills and Sea of Cortez.

The villa can accommodate up to 12 guests and has a spacious layout with six bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths. You will love the well-appointed gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances and we can help you hire a private chef for all your family meals!

This lovely home also has large pocket doors blending the inside seamlessly with the outdoor terrace. Combined with the unobstructed views, the living area is the perfect for space for entertaining!

Hang out with the family out on the terrace, with is many lounge chairs, pool and Jacuzzi, and soak in the incredible views! At the end of the day, gather around the outdoor fire pit and watch the sun as it sets over the Pacific. When the day is over, the bedrooms offer a luxurious retreat for everyone!

A stay at Cabo Villa Maria will include complimentary housekeeping service and you can enhance your Cabo villa vacation by adding additional services via your concierge, who can book all-inclusive villa-dining packages, private chefs, spa treatments, ocean activities, a pre-stocked kitchen, rental cars and other transportation services. Just let our Villa Specialists be your guide while you enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.   

Whether you are looking for a quiet escape or a fun-filled family vacation, this Cabo San Lucas vacation villa is sure to exceed everyone’s expectations!

Cabo Villa Thunderbird

Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

This is a six-bedroom villa perfectly placed in the Pedregal community and it’s perched on the hill to overlook one of the most gorgeous views in Cabo!

With over 10,000 sq. ft. of luxurious living space, this multi-level vacation villa brings together the best of both private living areas and communal open-space dining and social gathering spots. Outside there is a gorgeous pool and Jacuzzi that overlook the spectacular natural vista below. You and your guests can have a fiesta on the outdoor barbecue while you enjoy Cabo’s sunny climate and dine alfresco!

Cabo Villa Thunderbird is close to Beaches and the famous Cabo marina and restaurants are just minutes away. You will always have easy access to entertainment options at this centrally located Cabo Villa!

Villa Gran Cabo Vista

Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Cabo San Lucas Vacation Rentals

This extravagant three-level vacation villa sits on the top of the hills in the gated-residential community of Pedregal and boasts incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. Featuring 7,500 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor living space, you and up to 14 guests can enjoy an amazing Mexican escape!

The interior of this home is unique and features Egyptian Travertine flooring, granite and travertine countertops in the bathrooms, top-of-the-line-appliances, high ceilings, and comfortable furnishings.

One of the best parts about this home, is the full-time, live-in staff, who will clean the home and prepare delicious local cuisine! Outside, spend time in the gorgeous infinity pool and Jacuzzi, or have a fiesta and dine alfresco while enjoying a freshly made margarita at the swim-up bar.

The bedrooms are each designed for maximum comfort, as each features a private en-suite bathroom, a king-size bed, satellite TV with stereo system, and an individual outdoor terrace boasting stunning views of the blue Pacific! An extra half bath and wheelchair ramp was added for guest convenience.  

You and your guests will have an amazing experience at Villa Gran Cabo Vista and we promise it will be hard to leave!

For more homes, visit our Cabo Villas collection today!

St. Patrick’s Day, Hawaiian Style urn:uuid:d08d64b8-9a54-e958-f67c-e80285a2589b 2017-09-23T16:58:30-07:00 St. Patrick’s Day, Hawaiian Style

By Shanon Searls

Just like a tricky leprechaun, St. Patrick’s Day has snuck up on us! If you are in Hawaii this year, we have put together a guide of events to help you find the best place to celebrate.

Grab something green, the luck of the Irish is upon us!

First, A Little History

St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held every year on March 17th and celebrates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In the early 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day was officially made a Christian feast day and was observed by many Irish churches. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.

March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and also celebrates the general heritage and culture of the Irish. Throughout the world, celebrations usually include public parades and festivals and most people often adorn themselves in some type of green attire.  A holiday that often includes generous consumption of spirits, historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol where lifted.

Celebrating St. Patrick

Now that you know a bit more about this green-filled holiday, take a look at what is going on in Hawaii. Whether or not you have Irish roots, you won’t want to miss out on these St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with a Hawaiian twist!

Murphy’s Annual Block Party - Oahu

Commonly known for being one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations of the Pacific, this yummy restaurant will be hosting their 30th annual block party for St. Patrick. For a family affair, join them for lunch and stay throughout the day for the Keiki Fair that runs from 12-3PM. 

For those looking to celebrate into the night, the official block party kicks off at 6 PM. Enjoy delicious food, vendor booths, live music and DJs, and fresh oysters and spirits.

Waikiki St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Oahu

This family– friendly event is the perfect way to celebrate this holiday! The parade is full of floats and music-bands and starts at Fort DeRussy. The festivities will march through Waikīkī, down Kalākaua and ends at Kapiʻolani Park.  Although the parade starts at noon, you may want to arrive early as this event expects over 800 participants.

Waikiki by John Di Rienzo - Exotic Estates

Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run - Oahu

St.Patrick's Day Hawaii, Exotic Estates Vacation Rental

Before you indulge in Irish ale and food, be sure to get in your workout!  Grab your green costume and join other runners for the 7 AM 5K that leaves from Navy Lodge in Ford Island.

Clean and Green St. Patty’s Day at Hyatt Regency - Maui

St.Patrick's Day Hawaii, Exotic Estates Vacation Rental

If you’re looking for a healthy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, join the festivities at the Hyatt Regency in Maui. The clean and green St. Patty’s day celebration invites you to take part in yoga classes, putting contests, mini-massages and a green tea mask give away. Enjoy all of this while drinking fresh housemaid Green juice with spinach kale and mixed berries, Yum!

This event begins at 8 AM and costs $20.

Fleetwood’s On Front Street - Maui

John Di Rienzo Fleetwoods on Front Street Maui - Exotic Estates

Celebrate with Jameson shots and green beer while listening to live music by Hi Country and Fleetwood’s on Front Street in Lahaina. Starting at 7 PM, they will also be serving classic Irish food such as corned beef, braised cabbage, and boiled red potatoes. Make your reservations today!  808-669-6425;

Mulligans on the Blue - Maui

Head over to Maui’s only Irish owned and operated restaurant. Enjoy live entertainment by the Glenn Innes Session Band, David Connolly, Pete Sebastian and Peter Hamilton from Fish Tank and The Celtic Tigers.  Arrive before noon for no cover otherwise it’s $10 from 12 to 4 and $20 after 4 PM.

Relax at Home

Avoid the holiday crowds and take time to relax at your vacation-home. Our Villa Specialists can help you get groceries delivered to make your very own irish-inspired feast!

As with any holiday, always be safe before you start celebrating and be sure to designate a sober driver before drinking.  We suggest using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft back to your Exotic Estates vacation rental.

Don’t forget to have a great time!

Hawaii Whale Watching Guide urn:uuid:b961bc68-532a-260d-139a-3a0f5f0bab87 2019-08-14T21:12:30-07:00 Where to Watch Humpback Whales on Maui

By Shanon Searls

Now that you have arrived in Hawaii, unpacked your bags and breathed in the fresh, tropical air, it’s time to unwind and have the experience of lifetime!

You have most likely heard about it and maybe even seen pictures, but now is your chance to seize a unique opportunity…viewing humpback whales up close and personal!

Like clockwork every year, majestic humpback whales visit the warm Hawaiian waters from November to May. With so many exciting things to do and see in Hawaii, this is an event that is sure to amaze even the most well-traveled visitor. The peak watching season is from January to March, and trust us, you don’t want to miss out!

It is estimated that about two-thirds of the humpback whale population (in the North Pacific) visit Hawaii each winter. These whales travel over 4,500 miles to Hawaii to breed, give birth and nurse their young, seeking refuge from sub-freezing temperatures.

Hawaii is one of the greatest places to watch for whales, since they come here during mating season and are very active. This results in elevated surface activities and whether you watch from your private lanai or, as we recommend, embark on a boat-tour, we guarantee you will be amazed at the sight of these magnificent mammals.

For an AMAZING view of a triple breach, visit our YouTube page here:

Tourists in their own right, whales bask in the delightfully warm Hawaiian waters hopping island to island, putting on a show (and even boosting the economy) before packing up and returning home.

There are many whale-watching excursions to choose from, many of which guarantee sightings with the guide of on-board experts and a little help from modern technology. Most tour operators have microphones that they drop into the water, allowing you to hear the beautiful melodies of the whales in the area.

Preserving the Humpback Whale

Maui Whale Watching, Exotic Estates Vacation Rentals

Protecting these endangered creatures is vital and in 1996 after mass commercial whaling, they almost became extinct. Now there are around 30,000-40,000 humpbacks worldwide and although federal law helps protect them, there are also things you can do to help preserve these beautiful animals for future generations.

Out of respect for safety to both you and the whales, federal law requires that all ocean vessels maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from the whales. Don’t worry, this is the perfect distance to capture an amazing view as they breach and show off. There is also no rule that keeps whales from approaching people and some experienced tour-guides know how to gently approach these amazing animals to get them to come closer. You may even get splashed from breaching or a tail slap!

Locals' Tips:

  • Help keep beaches and waters clean and free of debris
  • Support efforts that help put an end to illegal whaling
  • Participate in responsible whale watching activities.

It might be overwhelming to choose the best whale-watching experience for you and your group, so we have made it easy and put together a guide for humpvback whales on Maui. Whether you choose to watch the whales from the shore or dive into the waters to hear their songs, this is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Whale-Watching Boat Trips

For those looking for the “up-close-and-personal” experience, a whale-watching boat trip is the way to go! This is the ultimate in whale-watching experiences, and a must do for those looking for an unforgettable experience with this endangered species.

Locals' Tips:

  • Look for smaller boats, such as sailboats or catamarans, for an intimate experience away from the masses! Sailboats also offer a pristine experience on the ocean; feel the tranquil breeze, soak in the Hawaiian sunrays, all without the loud hum of large engines.
  • Start Early! We know not everyone is excited at the thought of rising early while on vacation, however early morning trips (as opposed to afternoon trips) ensure the least wind and smoothest ride for your excursion. Don’t forget, we do reside in the latest US time zone – so while 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. may sound early, your body will most likely feel as though it’s much later!
  • Prone to seasickness? Don’t forget the Dramamine, seasickness patches, and ginger in any form. Equally, if not more important than those, don’t forget to stand at the rail’s edge and keep your eyes on the horizon! This will help your equilibrium immensely. Be sure not to enclose yourself inside (say, a bathroom!) as this will amplify the effects of your seasickness. Lastly, if you do happen to get sick, aim for over the back railing (on the lower level if you’re on a two-tier boat!), and don’t fret or be embarrassed, the crews are all quite accustomed to it.

Best Option – ask the Exotic Estates Hawaii-based Concierge to connect you to the perfect sightseeing tour.

Whale Watching from Cliffs or Lookout Points

Not a fan of being on a boat? Each island has a multitude of options for vantage points to view whale activity from land. These popular locations are often found cliff-side for an expansive ocean view. Get ready for the water show of a lifetime!

Locals' Tips:

  • Don’t forget your binoculars! While whale activity in Hawaii can be easily seen with the blind eye, you’ll wish you had a pair of specs handy to get detail only usually seen up close.
  • Most lookout points in Hawaii are located right off main travel roads. Be sure to park as to not impede with road travel, and be extremely careful not to walk within roadways while exiting and entering your vehicle.
  • Stick to the road most travelled! Most known lookout points have clear markers, those without paved parking lots will have obvious beaten paths with flatter areas better for parking. Skip the urge to drive or venture into blocked or undesignated areas off cliff-side roads! Often these areas are heavily rocky, unstable, and unsecured and pose an unassuming safety risk.
  • Along the same line, be cautious while standing and walking cliff-side. Stay within markers and away from the cliff’s edge while whale watching and taking photos. While our Hawaiian lava rocks may look very stable – they can easily scramble and breakaway without notice.
  • VOG (volcanic emissions of sulfur dioxide) can appear when our trade winds die down (it looks like smog to those unfamiliar), and can affect your visibility greatly while whale watching. If the weather appears “voggy” save your land-based whale watching for a clearer day. Keep an eye on the palms, when they start swaying again that VOG will blow right on out!

Whale Watching from the Beach

Ready to get those toes in the warm Hawaiian sand? You can still soak up the views from the comfort of your beach chair!

Maui is home to some of the best whale watching in the world. The ocean channel between West and South Maui is protected by Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains, setting the stage for endless visibility and shallow waters ideal for humpback whales.

Besides an on-the-ocean view while aboard a whale-watching excursion, the below are some of Maui’s best known sites for whale watching.

1. McGregor Point (Honoapiilani Hwy, near Ma’alaea)

This point is home to the McGregor Point lighthouse and sweeping ocean views!

Directions: Between Mile Markers #7 and Mile Marker #8, off the Honoapiilani “Pali” Highway, there is an unimproved rocky road that leads to the point overlook.

2. Papawai Scenic Lookout (Honoapiilani Hwy, near Ma’alaea)

This is the easiest lookout on island to access, and almost impossible to miss!

Directions: While travelling Lahaina-bound on the Honoapiilani “Pali” Highway, near Mile Marker #8 a turning lane entering the paved lookout parking lot.

3. Olowalu Area Beaches and Roadside (South of Lahaina)

This entire area of shallow water just along the towering West Maui Mountains is wonderful for viewing whale activity on a clear day.

Whether you simply pull the car over, stop beachside for a dip, or join a kayak whale-watch excursion in these waters – you’re likely in for quite the show!

Locals' Tips:

  • Just as before, don’t forget those binoculars for that perfect visual!
  • Aim to avoid busier beaches for more ambiance, and less shoreline activity that can detract from watching the horizon for a pod of whales!
  • Feeling adventurous? Paddle boarding is a great opportunity to enjoy one of our most popular ocean activities, while getting a great ocean view often with whale activity (it can occur much closer to shoreline that you may expect!).
  • The sight of whale activity right offshore while driving is not uncommon here (especially in the Olowalu and Honoapiilani Highway areas)! We know it’s irresistible, but please be cognoscente and alert while driving. We like to call whale season “fender-bender” season, as distracted driving is the cause for many preventable accidents. Don’t waste your previous vacation day in the after effects of a vehicle collision – when in doubt, pull over to enjoy the view!

Viewing from a Maui Vacation Villas - Best Seat in the House?

Exotic Estates offers plenty of Maui villas that have excellent whale-watching potential, sometimes right from your bed!

Book one of our exquisite Maui Villas and savor breathtaking views of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, including awe-inspiring scenes of Humpback whales breaching and frolicking on the ocean’s surface during the winter months.

To see a selection of our amazing villas, click here: Maui Vacation Villas 

Hawaii's Prince Kuhio State Holiday - Celebrating Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole urn:uuid:ea42d302-adc1-6704-7726-62cc6f91472e 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 Prince Kuhio Day & Festival

By Shanon Searls

It’s that wonderful time of year when the people of Hawaii join to honor the life of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole. If you are staying on Oahu on and around March 26th, don't miss out on Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole Day (a.k.a. Prince Kuhio Day), a uniquely Hawaiian cultural celebration!

Important - Holiday Closures

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day is an official state holiday, observed every March 26th. Because this year it falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on Monday, March 27th. This means that Hawaii government offices, schools, and some businesses will be closed (If the date falls on a Saturday, the previous Friday will be impacted). Also, city mass transit will be on a holiday schedule. Plan accordingly!

Who Was Prince Kuhio

Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole was the price of the Kingdom of Hawaii up until it was overthrown in 1893. Later, he went on to become a representative in the territory of Hawaii as delegate to the United States Congress.

Prince Kuhio Festival, Oahu Vacation Rentals

This is a photo of the Hawaiian Coat of Arms and Seal from the gate of Iolani Palace. The motto in Hawaiian reads "Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono," which can be translated to, "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." The Coat of Arms was created during the reign of Kamehameha III, around 1845, and modified during the reign of the great King Kalakaua, whose name graces Waikiki's main boulevard.

The Prince’s tale is a complex one, inextricably tied to Hawaii’s complex and controversial history as a Kingdom, American territory and then ultimately, state.

Born on Kauai, his given name means “Chief who leaned forward as he stood,” and he was considered the “People’s Prince.” He attended the Royal School on Oahu and he then studied for four years at St. Matthew’s College in California and the Royal Agricultural College in England. In 1884, he was declared a prince by the Kalakaua Dynasty.

A Prince Without a Home

After the Kingdom was overthrown, Kuhio and his brother joined other native Hawaiians in an unsuccessful attempt to restore the monarchy. As a result, Prince Kuhio was sentenced to a year in prison while others were executed for treason against the republic. After his sentence, Kuhio left Hawaii for South Africa, vowing never to return to a place that no longer welcomed Hawaiians.

Prince Kuhio Festival Waikiki, Oahu, Exotic Estate Vacation Rentals

Iolani Palace was the last home of the Hawaiian Monarchy, built in 1882 by  King Kalakaua after he became the first monarch to cricumnavigate the globe! The Palace enjoys the designation as the only true royal palace in the U.S. We encourage a visit to Iolani Palace, located in downtown Honolulu, to immerse yourself in Hawaiian history and learn about Hawaii came to be the state it is today. Tours are led by docents who will give you many fascinating facts about the royals who once called it home. You can read more about visiting Iolani Place on our 5 Great Oahu Activities Blog

During his time away from Hawaii, he joined the British Army to fight the Boer War and then eventually returned back to the Islands, unable to stay away from his Hawaiian roots.  

Once he arrived, Hawaii had already been appropriated as a territory of the United States. Although he may have once been King, Kuhio was instead elected as Hawaii’s congressional delegate for 10 consecutive terms from 1903 until his death in 1922.

Kuhio is well-known for his efforts to preserve and strengthen the Hawaiian people and he spearheaded the effort in the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which provides lands for native Hawaiians to homestead. Prince Kuhio was also known for restoring the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and for founding the Hawaiian Civic Club.

Kuhio’s body was laid to rest next to the rest of his family in Oahu at the Royal Mausoleum, in Nuuanu on Oahu.  A life-size statue was built and dedicated to the Price in 2002, located in Waikiki. In 1949, a territorial legislature was passed that established March 26th as a holiday to forever honor him.   

Celebrating Hawaii’s Prince

Nearly 100 years later, you can take a trip into the history of Hawaii and honor Price Kuhio with a festival of events, ceremonies and activities that celebrate the birthday of the Prince.

Prince Kuhio Festival Waikiki, Oahu, Exotic Estate Vacation Rentals

The throne room at Iolani Palace is shown here. You will see that it resembles a Western-style throne room. The Hawaiian monarchy was recognized around the world as a royal line, and the Hawaiian royal family sought to position Hawaii as a modern state, building the Iolani Palace to serve as home and suitable place to receive other heads of state. The monarchs who lived here were innovative and colorful, and tried to bring the latest technology to Hawaii. Interestingly, the palace was one of the few homes in the US to have a flush  toilet, electricity or phone...ahead of the White House! 

A free event is held at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki and is an immersive and family-friendly Hawaiian experience that all ages will enjoy. The multi-day celebration starts on Monday, March 18th. The festival will exhibit native Hawaiian artists, musicians, and other local artisans that will showcase all that’s wonderful from Hawaiian culture!

Gather together at the Royal Mausoleum in Oahu, along with the Royal family, members of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and Hawaiian Homesteaders. Together, you will remember the wonderful life and achievements of the Prince, and get a sense of Hawaiian cultural identity

Services are held at the Royal Mausoleum on Friday, March 24th.


Join the festivities and walk the Prince Kuhio Commemorative Parade, which starts at Saratoga/Kalakaua and ends at Kapi’olani Park on Saturday, March 25 from 10 AM to Noon.

Prince Kuhio Festival Waikiki, Oahu, Exotic Estate Vacation Rentals

After the parade, head over to the Kapi’olani Bandstand where Hawaiian Civic Clubs and their members will display food booths, arts and crafts and free entertainment. This is a fun event for the entire family.

Chuch Services

On Sunday, March 26th you can join the Kawaiaha’o Church to honor the prince during services from 8:30-10AM, then enjoy the Prince Kuhio Choral Concert later that day from 7-8 PM where you can experience a cappella singing under Choral Master, Nola A. Nahulu. Throughout the concert, you will learn about historic Hawaiian places and important people from Hawaiianhistory.

All events during the 2017 Prince Kuhio Festival are free and provide a fun way to learn about Hawaiian history and legacy of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, the “People’s Prince,”

Exotic Estates Maui Beach Guide urn:uuid:cf2243b6-6ace-f1e4-025e-467958f89e1b 2018-11-15T14:35:01-07:00 Exotic Estates Maui Beach Guide

By Shanon Searls

Welcome to the beautiful island of Maui! Now that you have arrived in this fabled island, you might be wondering which beach you should visit first. Don't worry, we've got you covered!

The local Exotic Estates' team has crafted a Maui Beach guide to escort you through some of the world's most well-known and picturesque beaches. Grab your bathing suit and sunblock and head out to the best beach near your villa!

Maui Beach Guide Map

Top West Maui Beaches (from North to South)

Honolua Bay (no beach, strictly snorkeling)

This gorgeous bay is perfect for families or anyone who wants to get a front-row seat to Hawaiian Sea-Life. This beach is best for snorkeling and surfing, not for those who are looking to sunbathe.

Honolua Bay is part of a Marine Life Conservation District, so fishing of any kind is strictly prohibited.  This area is closely protected in order to preserve the abundant natural resources for future generations.

Honolua, which means “two harbors” in Hawaiian, is perfect for snorkeling and you will get to see fish, coral, and maybe even a sea turtle. However, be careful as there is not an actual sandy beach entry, and the beach is very rocky. The sea floor is also a bit rocky close to the shore, so you might need to swim further out for decent visibility. Be sure everyone in your party is a strong swimmer!

Slaughterhouse Beach

Located on Mokule’ia Bay, this beach is like Honolua Bay in that is it also part of the Marine Life Conservation district, but there is much sandier beach available making a great option for relaxing in the Maui sun.

The beach's namesake comes from an old Honolua Ranch Slaughterhouse and tanning facility that were located just on the cliff’s edge above the Pacific and although the buildings were torn down in the 60’s, the name stuck.

During the winter, the waves are much bigger and are perfect for veteran surfers and body boarders. Beware as these waves can be potentially dangerous. However, the summer months provide a much more mellow wave, making it a great spot for the novice waterman.

This can also be a great place to snorkel when the ocean is flat!

D.T. Fleming Beach Park

This is a classic beach located next to the Kapalua Resort and the Ritz Carlton and provides a long sandy sweep of coastline.

The name comes from D.T. Fleming, who is the man that introduced the pineapple to West Maui. A desirable location, this beach is less developed than Ka’anapali Beach and therefore is somewhat less crowded. The beach is also staffed with lifeguards, and features a parking lot, picnic tables, grills, restrooms and outdoor showers, and water taps.

During high surf, conditions of the water can be very dangerous and we advise even experiences swimmers to be cautious. During a north swell, this is great beach for surfing and body boarding. Make sure you bring enough snacks to stay, and don’t forget a local pineapple!

Local Tips: 
  • Wear Shoes/Slippers - be sure you’re ok with possibly getting muddy during the quick (probably 5-10 minute) trail from the parking areas to the waterfront. 
  • There are two parking areas, one near the Honolua Bay Overlook, and the other just around the bend from there (less than a minute’s drive past the first). The trail from the parking area near the overlook is a few minutes longer.
  • Bug repellant! If there’s been any rain recently (which there usually has been up there), that little rainforest that’s being trekked through is full of mosquitoes

Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay - by John Di Rienzo

This sheltered and white-sand beach is located on the north-west side of Maui and is protected by two reefs that extend on each end of the bay.  The calm blue waters make an ideal spot for snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying everything that Maui as to offer.

The sandy beach makes getting in to the water easy for anyone, and whether you are sunbathing or swimming, this is the perfect beach for families! Make sure you bring your towel and mask, as you are sure to see marine life under the water.

Although this beach is located close to the Kapalua Bay Hotel, there are no concessions so also be sure to bring snacks and water. There is no lifeguard on duty so watch kids and inexperienced swimmers closely.

Local Tips: 
  • The surf here can get big, making water activities a little treacherous for kids/inexperienced people
  • This is a more heavily local beach, but is a really big beach and has a beach parking lot

Napili Bay

Napili Bay Maui Beach Guide

One of Maui’s most coveted beaches, Napili Bay features gorgeous white-sand, crystal blue water, and excellent swimming.  A well-known favorite, this beach will be a bit busier than the rest, and for good reason.

The bay is protected by outer reefs from most swell directions, allowing for gentle and small waves and great visibility. This beach is the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun, swimming and snorkeling, and enjoying the warm Maui breeze.

Because this is such a popular beach, beware that it can be crowded. There can also be a steep incline to get into the water. Below the waters surface you will find an abundance of coral and tropical fish. There are also no lifeguards on duty and no public restrooms.

Airport Beach (aka North Kaanapali Beach)

Kahekili Beach Park serves as West Maui’s only airport back in 1960’s and early 70’s, thus gaining it’s namesake. When the airport was moved to Kahana, the land was used to grow sugarcane and in the last ten years the area has experienced much more development.

This beach is a great spot in Maui for diving and usually provides visibility 50-100 feet below the surface. The bottom of the sea is sandy and there are corals from 5-25 feet.

At deeper depths, you can find a patch of reefs which marine life such as Moray Eels, Lionfish, scorpionfish, and much more call home!

Local Tips:
  • Great, easy snorkeling spot
  • There are several areas to park for public beach entrance (no formal beach parking lot), however they do get used up quickly, my favorite is the parking along the side of the road near the Napili Surf Beach resort (there’s a beach access path right at the end of the road)
  • There are often turtles that can be seen feeding near the lava rock formations to the left side of the beach (you walk past them as you’re coming in via the above parking area)

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach Maui - Exotic Estates Vacation Villas

Named as America’s Best Beach on more than one occasion, this gorgeous stretch of clean sand and turquoise blue water expands for three miles. Featuring one of Maui’s most famous attractions, Kaanapali is home to Black Rock, where there is a cliff diving ceremony off  the rock (Puu Kekaa) that is held every evening at sunset.

This beautiful beach rests in front of Kaanapali’s hotels and resorts, as well as Whalers Village, which is a world-class shopping complex that has a variety of boutiques and restaurants and even golf courses.

Kaanapali Beach is the quintessential beach in paradise!

Baby Beach (West Maui)

Baby Beach West Maui

A local favorite, Baby Beach is popular with families with young children. This beach is protected by a reef, creating a calm and shallow pool where there is no fear of waves crashing.

The weather is almost always gorgeous and parents can enjoy the magnificent coast views of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands. The sandy beach is narrow, and there is also a lot of coral and rocks so beware that you don’t get scraped in the water!

Local Tips:
  • Parking is super easy -  great spot with a big parking lot
  • There’s also a covered pergola/BBQ area as well as restrooms/showers - it’s got the works when it comes to amenities (many Maui beaches  do not have these)
  • Weekdays will be way less crowded, it’s very popular among locals for birthday parties on the weekends

Shark Pit

Shark Pit is at the south end of Lahaina and is perfect spot for surfing. The name comes from the white-tip reef shark that often hang out here, along with an abundant marine life.

The surf wave breaks right and left with hollow waves, and surfers can paddle out near the boats to the left, across from the channel.

Find parking in the street or at the Lahaina parking lot, and there are also public restroom facilities. There are no lifeguards at this beach.

Launiupoko Beach Park

A longtime favorite of Maui Locals, this sandy beach rest alongside a grassy green park with picnic tables and BBQ stations.

Not only can you enjoy a fun picnic or BBQ with the family, but this beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, or SUP boarding.

Local Tips:
  • This is a GREAT spot for small kids, or those looking to lounge in the water without the surging waves (there’s a reef system off the coast that breaks the waves and essentially creates a shallow pool all along the beach)
  • There are several entrance areas, my favorite is the farthest to the South (Off of Front St. at the end of Pu’unoa Pl.) - you are not permitted to park anywhere in that cul de sac, but there is a dirt parking area across the street that is available for public beach parking and always has plenty of room available

South Maui Beaches

Kamaole Beach Parks I, II, & III

Kamaole Beach park is a set of three beaches in Kihei. Also known as Kam 1, Kam 2 and Kam 3, this beach is a local favorite and provides plenty of parking, lifeguards, volleyball courts and outstanding swimming conditions!

The perfect gathering places for friends and family, Kamaole beach has grassy and shady lawn areas, picnic tables, and BBQ pits. There are also plenty of palm trees alongside this 36-acre oceanfront paradise!

Over 1.5 miles long, you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding islands, Molokini, Kaho’olawe, and Lanai’i. Usually the conditions of this beach are safe for swimmers, but beware of potential large surf and rip currents during storms and south swells.

Kihei Cove (Cove Park)

Surfs up! An Exotic Estates' favorite, this is a great place to learn how to surf and SUP board!

There is no shortage of vendors who are offering lessons and rentals, and many instructors will take you out any day of the week. There is also another cove nearby that is more ideal for swimming.

If you came to Maui to learn how to surf, this is the best spot for you!

Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach Maui Beach Guide

This beautiful beach boasts over a mile of coastline, making it a beachcombers favorite and the perfect spot for a morning run or sunset walk.

The water is great for swimming, boogie boarding and snorkeling and the sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing or reading your favorite book. The shoreline is very developed, so take a break from the beach and grab lunch at a nearby restaurant.

If you are looking for an adventure, you can rent kayaks, SUP boards, and other beach gear at nearby hotels and vendors.

Locals Tip:
  • On the north end of the beach you can find fun tide pools that showcase the sea life of Maui. There is also good snorkeling around the outcropping.

Polo Beach 

This sandy beach rests between the Polo Beach Club and the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel and is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll along the shore. You will also find a small park with a grassy area, showers and restrooms, and picnic tables and BBQ’s.

Wailea Beach

A consistent world favorite, Wailea beach is known as one of the most perfect beaches in Maui.

Offering a resort-style atmosphere, the long sandy coastline is perfect for lounging and boasts views of the outer islands and in the winter, you may even spot a whale!

When the water is mellow, there are a plethora of activities including swimming, snorkeling, boogie boarding and body surfing. You will also find public facilities (bathrooms and showers) and there is even free public parking.

The only downfall is the beach can be a little crowded due to its beautiful appeal.

Top North Shore Beaches (from West to East)

Baldwin Beach Park

This lovely and large white-sand beach is located on Maui’s North shore, and features lifeguards, public restrooms and shower, BBQ’s and picnic tables, and even a covered pavilion making it the perfect spot for family outings!

During the winter, this is a desired place for boogie boarders, as the swells bring a large shore break. Swimmers can enjoy a protected area on the east and west ends. The long stretch of sand also make it a great place for your morning stroll or run.

The weekends can bring quite a crowd, but there are generally still empty parts of the beach due to its large size!

Baby Beach (North Shore)

This laid-back beach is not just for kids! A protected lagoon, this beach is located just before Paia on the North Shore of Maui. The perfect family beach, everyone will enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on shore.

Behind the beach you will find sand dunes and a natural wooded area, providing a buffer from shops and hotels, making this a locals and tourists favorite. Enjoy gorgeous views of the coastline and have a picnic with your loved ones.


This beach is ideal for the adventurous, well-known for windsurfing and surfing alike. Although not the best for swimming, it’s a great place to enjoy the warm Maui sun while you watch experienced waterman take on the wind and the waves!

A world-class windsurfing site, you may arrive during a professional competition. On any other day, you can expect to find some of the most experienced windsurfers doing their thing and if you are among the skilled, this is the place for you.

Although there are lifeguard towers at each end of the beach, beware not to swim if the surf is big and if you see an orange flag, this indicates that conditions are for experts only!

Top Hana Beaches

Wai’anapanapa State Park

This stunning park on the way to Hana offers beautiful panoramic views and black-sand beaches, evidence of the lava that once flowed.

Surrounded by bright green jungle, this is a popular stopping point for those on their way to Hana. Since most people look and leave, this location is rarely crowded and offers the perfect picnic spot for families and couples.

Surrounding the beautiful beach, you can also find hikes, ocean caves, sea arches, and many more Hawaiian wonders. There is even a nearby cliff jumping site where you can find those brave enough to take a long dive into the water!

Red Sand Beach

Known in Maui as “Secret Beach,” this beautiful beach should be on your top must-see Maui destinations! Providing vivid colors of red sand and green foliage that surround the turquoise blue ocean, it’s no wonder this gorgeous bay is no longer a well-kept secret!

The sand is red in color do a crumbling red cinder cone, as well as a lava rock wall that brakes the force of the waves before they can thump onto the beach. The cove is protected on the ocean side from this jagged wall of lava rock, making the seclusion and beauty a desirable stop for most.

This bay is safe to snorkel, but ONLY when the water is calm. Please note that this beach is also “clothing optional,” so if you aren’t comfortable seeing strangers in the nude, this might not be the best beach for you.

Local's Tip:
  • Part of the trail to this beach is now considered more dangerous due to a landslide. Be sure that everyone in the party is capable of navigating trails and cliff edges that are slippery and/or very rocky.

Hamoa Beach

Another beauty on the road to Hana, Hamoa Beach is a crescent shaped bay that is ideal for spending time enjoying the views of paradise!

The park is equipped with public restrooms and showers, and there is also a foot-wash station for cleaning off the sand after your adventures, keeping cars clean.

The soft sand provides a seamless beach entry, so take a dip into the warm Maui waters! The whole family can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in this beautiful bay, but keep a close eye on the little ones as there is no lifeguard on duty.

Koki Beach

This beach is a local’s favorite surf spot and thus swimming is not recommended. Instead, lay out your towel and take in the gorgeous vista, which includes surfers catching waves! There is even grassy park area with picnic tables, which is the perfect spot for lunch.

This beach is where locals learn to surf, and you are likely to only see short boards as the waves are quiet steep. The beach can change radically throughout the year, boasting a soft sandy coast in the summer and a rockier version in the winter once the waves take the sand.

This spot holds cultural importance in Maui, as the large and red cinder hill to the north is where is it said the bones of Pele were left after a fatal battle with her older sister. Interestingly, this hill now belongs to Oprah, who purchased the land (a 105-acre section) from Hana Ranch in 2002.

Ask an Villa Specialist

Still unsure of which beach to visit? Reach out to your Exotic Estates Hawaii Villa Specialist today for a one-on-one phone call to help you navigate to Maui’s most beautiful beaches! 

Maui Must-See – Baldwin Home Museum urn:uuid:579ef470-8d9b-4f8e-88e2-454c2f75f752 2017-08-17T02:42:26-07:00 Maui Must-See – Baldwin Home Museum

Baldwin Museum Tour, Baldwin Home Front, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Take a trip to Maui’s humble past with a tour of the Baldwin Museum. One of the oldest buildings in Lahaina, the Baldwin Missionary House is located on Front Street and is an easy way to incorporate some historical sight-seeing into your Maui vacation!

This historic home has been  restored and offers visitors a vivid picture into the life of the Baldwin family on Maui almost 200 years ago, The Baldwins, a missionary family, lived in the house during the early 1800’s.

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

The original home was built by Reverend Ephraim Spaulding sometime between 1834 and 1835, which was then referred to as the “missionary compound.” In 1836, Reverend Spaulding became ill and returned to the east coast of the US.

Dwight Baldwin, who was a pastor and doctor from New England, came to Hawaii with his wife in 1830. They lived in a grass hut on the compound until Reverend Spaulding’s illness, at which time he moved into the home with his family.

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Baldwin and his wife, Charlotte Fowler, originally came to Maui from New England on a long, six-month voyage. As the family grew in size (they had eight children), so did the home! A few additions were completed in 1840 and in 1849 the family built the second story to create the home that you can tour today.

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

The historic building was built using sand, coral, lava rock and rough-hewn timber and was the main center for missionary activities. The walls are 24-inches thick and the ceilings are high, which allows the inside of the home to keep cool.

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

You will find evidence of the fire pit in the backyard, which tells the story of how much the Baldwin family used the outdoors to prepare meals, bathe, and to clean dishes and linens.  

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

It also served as a medical garden, housing many local and exotic plants and fruit trees such as bananas, breadfruit and figs. The family also tended to grape vines that are still growing today along the side of the home.

Baldwin was an important person in the community for almost 40 years and his family also owned much of the land on the islands and founded many successful businesses, including Alexander and Baldwin. They opened their home to travelers and ship captains who would stay overnight during their port. They would also host members of the Hawaiian royal court!

Exotic Estates Baldwin Museum Tour

An inexpensive history experience, it’s only $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, military, and children under 12 are free.

The nice thing about Baldwin residence, is that you don't have to go out of your way to tour the home, as it's right smack in the middle of all the action on Front Street, lending an island of calm to the otherwise busy strip. They offer evening tours by candle light on some nights, which is very evocative of the era and gives you a feel for life back during the time the Baldwins where living in the home.

The impact of the missionaries in Hawaii remains controversial to this day, but they are an important part of Hawaii's history, and certainly helped to shape the Islands as we know them today. This little museum is interesting for its feeling of intimacy, simplicity and ability to convey a feeling of a bygone era. It's a great starting point for conversations about the Islands' complicated and fascinating history.

For more information on this fun family-friendly experience ask your Exotic Estates Estate Specialist today!

Maui - Snorkel In Paradise urn:uuid:f3f50471-3c6a-db88-5117-d8d80e28c4a8 2017-08-17T02:44:23-07:00 One-of-a-kind Snorkeling Tour in Paradise with Hula Girl

Hula Girl Snorkeling Tour with Exotic Estates

Go for a luxurious and stunningly gorgeous sail during your vacation on Maui. With Hula Girl Sailing Charters, you will experience the spectacular natural beauty that Maui offers, along with local drinks and island-inspired cuisine.

Hula Girl Sailing is one of our favorite Maui tours and we would highly recommend them for a fun family adventure or a romantic experience for couples. Choose from one of six charters where you will experience a warm Aloha welcome in a gorgeous setting. With Hula Girl, you will be able to see the beauty of Maui from the ocean and explore the abundant life in the warm waters around the island.

Hula Girl Snorkeling Tour with Exotic Estates, Snorkeling Boat, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

On each boat, you will find comfortable couch style seating, air-conditioned main salons, marble counters, flat-screen TV’s, and meals prepared fresh by local professional Chefs. There is also a full bar, ocean-view seating, and sparkling clean, air-conditioned restrooms.

Follow the stairs up to the fly bridge, where you can experience panoramic ocean views and visit with the Captain. Each charter has state-of-the-art technology that takes you directly to the most beautiful ocean spots where you will see an abundance of Hawaiian sea life.

Hula Girl Snorkeling Tour with Exotic Estates, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Once you reach your destination, getting off and back on the boat is easy, with stairs that lead right into the water. Plunge into the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean and experience the exciting world underneath the sea! Each scuba and snorkel guide is a marine naturalist, who will share  many interesting facts about Hawaii's ocean waters throughout your sailing excursion.

Also, in an effort to protect Hawaiian Reefs, Hula Girl requests that you don’t use any oils or spray bottle sunscreens. Instead, they offer a reef safe sunscreen that protects the marine environment.

Choose from one of six expeditions, tailored to provide you with the most wonderful sailing and snorkel experience in Maui. Here are some details on a few of our favorites:

Snorkel Scuba Cruise

This day-time tour starts at 9:30 AM and includes a breakfast and lunch. Guests will sail along Maui’s scenic coastline to a premier location such as Honolua Bay Marine Sanctuary. If you are sailing between the months of December through April, you may get to see Humpback whales up close from the large and stable platform on the Hula Girl boat!

Hula Girl Snorkeling Tour, Scuba Diving, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Deluxe Whale-Watch Dinner Cruise

Perfect for couples, schedule this romantic whale-watch dinner cruise during your stay! An upscale voyage, guests will also love the reasonable prices! Watch majestic whales with your sweetheart from the fly bridge, which is cushioned with couch style seating for up to 14 people. Or, you can get up-close and personal from the front deck or lay on one of the four queen size mattresses at the front of the trampoline area.

Hula Girl Snorkeling Tour, Whale Sighting, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Choose from appetizers and entrees, but we highly recommend that you choose the Chef’s fresh fish special of the day!  Top off the outing with a selection from the top-shelf tropical cocktails or fine wines and imported brews.

Hula Girl Private Charters

This is the perfect way to enjoy the Hawaii's famed blue waters with family. Private charters are also ideal for company incentive outings and events, or for an excursion during a couples' getaway!

Whether you head out for the day or take the sailboat out for the evening sunset and whale watch, you will not be disappointed with this exclusive service!

For more details on booking a sailing adventure with Hula Girl Maui, contact visit

Hawaiian Holiday Season 2016 urn:uuid:012808a0-426e-0db9-1084-eaaa387bafe7 2018-04-24T11:24:30-07:00 Hawaiian Holidays 2016

Christmas in Hawaii with Exotic Estates

No matter how you and your loved ones plan to celebrate the holidays this year, if you are spending them in Hawaii, you  will have a of variety of special events to choose from during your visit to paradise! There is nowhere in the USA that celebrates Christmas quite like Hawaii, where Santa usually arrives on a canoe instead of a sleigh.

You won’t find any snow, but Mele Kalikimaka, which means Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, can be heard across this beautiful state. Whether you prepare a feast at your vacation rental or enjoy a Hawaiian tree-lighting ceremony, there are plenty of traditional celebrations to ring in the spirit this holiday season!

Shop ‘Till You Drop – All Islands

No need to worry about Amazon or big-box stores when you can find rare and unique gifts at the local Hawaiian shops and boutiques. From jewelry and arts and crafts to the latest surf fashion, you are sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Lighting of the Banyan Tree – Maui

Lahaina Banyan Tree - John Di Rienzo

Come watch as Maui’s famous Banyan Tree is lit up for Christmas. Over the past 18 years, this special tradition has become a holiday favorite for locals and tourists alike. The beautiful ambiance of this event is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. So if you have a Grinch on board this year, bring them down to  the Banyan tree and let the lights work their magic!

One of the most famous landmarks in Maui, the Banyan Tree was planted in 1873 by Sheriff Smith to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Missionary. Brought from India, the tree was only eight feet high when it was planted and now has over twelve main trunks that spread over an acre of land.

Although the tree lighting is held on December 5th, the lights stay on through January 3rd. Take the family to Lahaina to enjoy the beautiful scenery,  local eateries and shops.

Christmas Eve Church Service - Maui

Wherever you might be on Maui, you will find a Christmas Eve church service near your vacation rental. Here a few options for you and your family:

Kumulani Chapel – Three Christmas Eve services at 5 PM, 7 PM and 11 PM.

Maria Lanakila – This Catholic Church is located in Lahaina and is holidng Christmas Eve mass at 6 PM and 12 AM.

Hope Chapel – This Kihei Chapel offers a Christmas Eve service at 6 PM and 8 PM

Say Hello to Santa in his Outrigger Canoe – Wailea

You won’t be seeing any reindeers escorting Santa Clause on this island! On December 24th, take the whole family to the Grand Wailea to watch as Santa arrives on the beach in nothing other than an outrigger canoe. Scheduled for a 9 AM arrival, you don’t want to miss this fun holiday event that is followed by a meet and greet with Santa after he paddles to the shore.

Honolulu City Lights – Oahu

Each year, in early December, Honolulu kicks off the holiday season with Honolulu City Lights, with a parade and lots of colorful lights decorating historic downtown Honolulu. Come enjoy the decorated 50-foot pine tree that stands in front of city hall as well as food, the chance to meet Santa and the many festive attractions that are part of the event. 

The event is free and fund for the whole family, and features rides and activities for the kids. This is an  amazing place to take the family to see these beautiful and festive decorations and lights through early January!

Night Circus at Rumfire – Oahu

If you are looking for an upscale New Year’s Eve event, take your friends to the Night Circus at Sheraton Waikiki. Enjoy specialty drinks, go-go and fire dancers, and live music all surrounded by the beautiful views of paradise.

Holiday Mele – Waikiki

The Waikiki Beach Walk is counting down until Christmas with a fun and entertaining week-long program of island music and hula dancing. From December 19-25, enjoy a different Hawaiian festivity each evening!

From local musicians and dancers to award winning hula performances, the whole family will love seeing the rich and spirited celebrations. For more info visit their website here. 

Free Ukulele Lessons – Waikiki

Learn how to play the music of Hawaii with a free Ukulele lesson! Held every day for the month of December, both adults and kids can take advantage of this one-of-a-kind offer at Waikiki Beach Walk. This is held everyday from 10:30 – 4:30 and the Ukulele’s are provided. First come, first serve. 

Whale Watching

December is an amazing time to be out on the ocean in the hopes to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales. Take a trip and celebrate these magnificent creatures, the perfect Christmas gift for all ages!

Hawaiian Luau - Maui

Don’t forget about this fun and exciting Hawaiian tradition this holiday season! Find one near your Maui vacation home during your stay here

No matter what you do or where you might be this December, from all of us at Exotic Estates we wish you a fun and safe holiday season!

Holiday Season in Los Cabos, Mexico urn:uuid:c776943e-cdf1-0f8a-4cca-1111965c4635 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Christmas in Los Cabos

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Palm Tree Christmas

Feliz Navidad! If you are one of the lucky families to be spending your holiday season in beautiful Los Cabos, we have put together a festive agenda for you and your loved ones. Take a look!

Christmas is a very special time of year and spending it in Mexico is extra special, where the festive season is celebrated for close to two months and includes holy days that are not commonly celebrated in the U.S. The fiestas include honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12 all the way through January 6th, which is the remembrance of Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men).

Notwithstanding the different celebrations, Christmas in Mexico includes intimate group gatherings with family and friends!

Get in the Spirit with Local Spirits!

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Holiday Spirits

Most famously known for tequila and cervezas, Mexico is also home to some delicious seasonal drinks! Stop by a local restaurant or even make your own Ponche Navideno, which means Christmas Punch. No Mexican Holiday is complete without this famous warm and spicy drink that is made with local Mexican fruits, cane sugar and spices.  If you are having Christmas at your Exotic Estates vacation rental, your guests will also love to try Noche Buena, a dark and spicy seasonal lager that can be found anywhere where beer is sold.

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates

San Jose Main Square

San Jose Del Cabo Main Square, Exotic Estate Vacation Rental

The main square in San Jose Del Cabo has a gorgeous historical plaza full of Mexican charm! Here you will find fun boutiques, restuarants, and local art galleries. During the holiday season, there is also a gorgeous Christmas tree that lights up the center of the square. 

San Jose Del Cabo Main Square Exotic Estates

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates San Jose Del Cabo Main Square

This beautiful building is the City Hall located in the heart of San Jose Del Cabo’s historic district and sits in front of the large Plaza.

San Jose was the site of a mission that was founded in 1730 by Jesuit Priest, Nicolas Tamara.  The church that sits on the site was built in the 1940s, but it is charming and fits in well with the historic nature of the town. Stop by to take a look at the gorgeous mosaic above the entrance and experience one of the most famous cultural monuments in Los Cabos. This is the perfect place to take the family to enjoy the festive season in the evenings.

Las Posadas

This nine-day celebration from December 16th through December 25th is a very important part of Mexican Christmas celebrations. Widely admired, this tradition originated in Colonial Mexico and re-enacts the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and their search for a place to stay.

Every night a community celebration takes place in neighborhoods and each festivity starts with a procession where there are people who play the parts of Mary and Joseph.  The crowd makes their way to a specific home where a special song is sung and afterwards, there is a big party inside the home and guests are served food, tamales, and some Ponche!

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Fresh Fish

El Dia De Los Tres Reyes

Meaning, “Three Kings Day,” this holiday celebrates the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men. An important day for the people of Mexico, the tradition is to give gifts and make the famous culinary treat known as “Rosca de Reyes,” which means The Kings Cake. This is the perfect addition to your Christmas Feast!

This special dessert is symbolic as it’s created in the round shape to signify the kings crown. Baked inside is a special surprise, a small plastic figurine that represents the baby Jesus. Whoever finds this special token is then indebted to host a party for the Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day) which takes place on February 2nd.

Bake your own Rosca De Reyes in your Los Cabos vacation rental and celebrate this local tradition this season!

NYE Celebration at Casa Dorada

For the adults in the group, you don’t want to miss this famed NYE party! This legendary event includes a fabulous gourmet dinner and classic Mexican cocktails before the DJ and dancing begins and lasts until 3 AM.

Enjoy a truly spectacular NYE experience that features a Hawaiian dance, a fire dancing show, and live music and fireworks. Book your tickets here

Sport Fishing Trip & Whale Watching

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Deep Sea Fishing

A location famed for some of the best fishing in the world, take a trip and catch your own Christmas or NYE dinner. The winter months in Cabo are ideal for striped and Blue Marlin, making for a unique and exciting family bonding experience.  You may also find Snapper, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, and Yellowfin Tuna. 

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Deep Sea Fishing

Even if you are not inclined to fish, don’t let this stop you from getting on the beautiful blue waters. December is the best time of year to watch the migration of whales, who are coming from the cold oceans to the warm waters of Baja to calve, feed, and mate. Keep an eye out for these magnificent creatures, specifically the Grey Whale and the Humpback Whale.

Beautiful Beaches

Christmas in Los Cabos with Exotic Estates Beautiful Beaches

One of the best parts about spending your Holidays in Los Cabos is the beautiful weather and the picturesque views. Take advantage of the gorgeous coastline and hit the beaches for a day of fun in the sun!

However you are celebrating the holidays this season, we wish you a safe and happy season from Exotic Estates!

One-of-a-Kind Luxury in Los Cabos urn:uuid:1f4284f4-8b2b-9840-dc01-1371860e708c 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 The Los Cabos White House

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, Pool

In our recent tour of Los Cabos, Mexico, we had a chance to explore all our luxurious vacation rentals in the area. One of the most unforgettable properties, was the Los Cabos White House.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, ocean view

Not only did we received a VIP tour, but we were one of the first to experience a brand new welcome ceremony that will be offered to all future Exotic Estates guests' in this home.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House

Our trip out this Los Cabos Vacation Villa was different in that it’s truly in a quiet and private-feeling location. Los Cabos White House rests beachfront in El Encanto De La Laguna, an exclusive and high-end community just northeast of San Jose Del Cabo.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a dapper and friendly staff, along with ice-cold, homemade margaritas. The air was filled with delightful Mexican tunes and we washed off the day with cool hand towels.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, Friendly Staff


Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, Margarita

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, in-house butler

Although the home looks great in photos, it is quite a different experience to see the vastness and attention to detail in person. The layout is expansive and open, allowing guests to see almost every room from the courtyard, along with panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, ocean view

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, Pool

All 10,000 square feet of this home has been carefully tended to, making sure it’s perfect for your vacation. While standing in the gorgeous courtyard, you can take in the sparkling pools (one for cooling of your feet and another for swimming) and the spa Jacuzzi. Imagine how you will use the space, whether it’s for an overdue family reunion or your dream wedding or birthday party. You can even band together a group of close friends and families for a multi-family vacation!

With the ability to comfortable accommodate up to 15 guests, each of the six guest suites features beautiful furnishings, a private bathroom, and space on the balcony to enjoy the stunning ocean views.  Each room is also stocked with L’Occitane products and offers floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can be captivated with your surroundings whether you are lying in bed or lounging on the comfortable furniture.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, bedroom with ocean view

Whatever you need during your stay at Los Cabos White House, it will be taken care of by the onsite professional staff that includes a house manager and private concierge, a gourmet chef, private waiters, a local masseuse, and daily housekeeping.

The team at Los Cabos White house is not typical of most homes in Los Cabos. Each staff member lives locally and is a part of the Los Cabos White House Family. There are only five villas in Los Cabos that offer full-service in-house Butlers and the Los Cabos White House is one of them.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, full-service staff

As the sun was setting, our team sat with Los Cabos White Houses' owner, Doug. He treated us to his famous appetizers and for dinner we were delighted with steak and lobster, along with delicious red-wine. The chocolate soufflé dessert was one of the best we have ever tasted! The local Chef is so good, even high-profile sports stars are blogging about the cuisine offered.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, appetizersLuxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, appetizers

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, steak lobster dinner

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, Chocolate Dessert

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, full service staff

The staff has been working with the owner since the home's inception and are there to make your vacation a breeze. The in-villa Butler is available for you daily from 2:00-10:00 PM and you will also be provided a gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner Chef. Truly attentive, each staff member is available to help you enjoy your retreat at this truly one-of-a-kind Cabo villa.

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House, ocean view

Also, included in your rate at Los Cabos Villa experience is a round-trip airport transfer, access to the in-villa spa and in-villa concierge services. 

Luxury Cabo Villa, Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House

The Los Cabos White house features a tremendous value for what is offered, all in a world-class setting. Contact an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist today and book your escape to Mexico at this luxurious villa!

Hot Lava in Hawaii urn:uuid:0fca70d2-c961-0eb5-969e-a4d49bc81e26 2018-04-24T17:31:27-07:00 Hot Lava in Hawaii

If you are looking for an exhilarating experience of a lifetime this holiday season in Hawaii, then look no further than the Lava Ocean Tour on the Big Island.

We took a "lava tour" with Lava Ocean Tours and are happy to share our amazing experience.  Hop on board as we take you through this sizzling ride that gets you up close and personal with HOT LAVA as it hits the Pacific Ocean!

More About Hawaii Volcano Kilauea

Kilauea is an active volcano on the Big Island and is considered  one of the most active volcanoes in the world. This ancient volcano is somewhere between 300,000-600,000 years old and is currently erupting, and has been for years. Kilauea means “spewing” in Hawaii and its outpouring of lava can be dated back 100,000 years.

Big Island Shanon Searls

The bulk of the volcano's landmass lies under the sea. The youngest lava found accounts for over 90% of the volcano’s surface and dates to just 1,000 years. The oldest sampled lava dates back about 2,800 years, and the first documented eruption is from 1823. Constantly spewing lava, Kilauea’s longest recorded period of rest was an 18-year hiatus from 1934-1952.

The relentless lava flow has a major impact on the surrounding ecosystem and the area is abundant in volcanic sulfur dioxide, which can produce acid rains. Wildlife flourishes where the rain doesn’t fall and Hawaii is full of endemic species thanks to this fact.  

The volcano holds a special place in history with the Hawaiian people, who believe that the crater of Kilauea is the body and home of Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes!

In 1916, a bill that formed the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and since then the park has become a World Heritage Site and a major tourist hub, attracting around 2.6 million people per year!

The Tour

As the current lava is flowing and making its way down the Pulima Pali in route to the ocean, the volcano tour gives you an opportunity to watch what happens when molten lava meets salt water. Since none of this action can be controlled, the ever-changing scenes are unique to each tour, thus providing a one-of-a-kind experience!

The tour begins at 4:30 when the boat departs and you will have a tour-guide that is an expert in explaining the rare sights. The boat can hold up to 49 passengers and excludes those who are not in good health, pregnant women, or anyone with back or neck problems. This tour is NOT for the faint of heart and passengers are required to be at least 4 years old and in excellent health.

Get ready for a fast and furious ride to the place where lava meets the sea! Once you are boarded and ready to go, an fast boast will take you to see recent lava flows, as Hawaii's Kilauea continues to erupt.

For a sneap peak of the experience, check out our video of the tour:

Book with Lava Ocean Tours Today!

Don’t just take our word for it. Take a trip with Lava Ocean Tours to see Hawaii volcano Kilauea and witness a magnificent world wonder for yourself!

Cabo Villa Inspections urn:uuid:8a3a815d-297e-79b0-41b0-bf4982ee9519 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Exotic Estates in Cabo

Cabo San Lucas is an important destination for Exotic Estates. We believe that Cabo should be on everyone’s vacation list. The reason is simple: high quality villas and a well-functioning infrastructure in a gorgeous setting.

The team flew into Los Cabos International Airport and made their way to one of our showcase Cabo vacation rentals - the Casa Cortez Beach Villa. While the home does not sit directly on the beach, it enjoys a commanding view of the coastline, and the beach below feels private, due to the controlled access into the area.

You see here how the infinity pool offered the perfect place for Glenn to review the inspection itinerary and get into a Cabo state of mind. Imagine reading a good book from this seat!

Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Casa Cortez Beach Villa - Glenn in Infinity Pool Overlooking Private Beach

Exotic Estates works with the best local partners in areas to ensure that it can offer you a reliable ground contact, no matter where you may book. The team will go out to tour villas on occasion to see what’s new, but the local vendor is like a team member that has the most intimate knowledge of the destination, and together we can give you the best service possible and, most importantly, connect you with the perfect vacation villa.

If I had to sum our experience up in one word, it would be “AMAZING”! From accommodations to food to local hospitality, I can’t sing enough praises for Los Cabos." 

Glenn, Exotic Estates Villa Specialist

The agenda in Cabo was intense, as the team fanned out to see and experience as many villas as possible. The inspections included San Jose del Cabo villas, villas on the Los Cabos Corridor and Cabo San Lucas villas. Come along with Jenn, Glenn, Shanon and others on their inspections of these amazing luxury vacation rentals.

San Jose del Cabo Villas - Quiet Luxury

We're happy to share highlights from our inspection tour of our San Jose del Cabo villas, including homes in the prestigious Fundadores area, which is a gated community of luxury villas that are exceptional in both setting and design. 

One of the benefits of renting a villa in San Jose del Cabo versus its louder cousin to the west, Cabo San Lucas, is the relative quiet. Another perk is the historic town center, which is home to restaurants, shops and a grand plaza that hosts public concerts. When the Exotic Estates team was there, a free classical concert took place in the historic square and the team spent several nights exploring the main street, with its many restaurants and boutiques.

"This beautiful area of the Baja Peninsula is surprisingly quiet, while still providing the upbeat nightlife people hope to find on vacations to Mexico." 

Shanon, Exotic Estates Marketing Manager

Here are some behind-the-scenes snapshots of the team touring our amazing San Jose del Cabo villas in the gated community of Fundadores.

Cabo Villa White Rock 

Cabo Villa White Rock is a gorgeous home sitting above the Sea of Cortez. It’s a beautiful place with placid interiors, fantastic art pieces and one of our favorite pools. 

Cabo Villa White Rock Entrance Courtyard, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock Entrance Courtyard - Orientation

Cabo Villa White Rock Entry Sculpture, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock Shanon at the Entry Sculpture

Cabo Villa White Rock Beach View, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock Beach View

Cabo Villa White Rock Master Bath, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock - Shanon and Ty in the Master

Cabo Villa White Rock Bar, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock - Glenn & Shanon at the Bar

Cabo Villa White Rock Pool, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa White Rock - Pool

Cabo Villa Tranquility 

Another home visited on the tour was Cabo Villa Tranquility. The beachfront villa is massive, at over 16,000 sq. ft. There are seven bedrooms with room for 14 guests, and a massive 26,000 sq. ft. terrace. The team was impressed by the grand architecture, its location on a warm, sandy beach and luxurious amenities such as an elevator that makes the villa more accessible for guests with mobility issues.

Cabo Villa Tranquility Entrance, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa Tranquility - Jenn and Glenn Saying Hello at the Entrance

Cabo Villa Tranquility Pool, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa Tranquility - Entrance Pool with Fire Feature

 Cabo Villa Tranquility Beachfront Terrace, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa Tranquility - Shanon on the Beachfront Terrace 

Seaside la Casita

Moving down to the Palmilla Resort, we have Seaside la Casita, an impeccably designed villa located in one of the biggest resorts in the area. This home has a commanding view of the Los Cabos coastline and boasts a warm décor that is welcoming and refined. We love the pool area at this villa and the amazing terrace, with its fire pit and covered sitting areas. The team got a top-to-bottom tour of the home, which was being prepped for a lucky guest's arrival!

Seaside la Casita Entrance and Pool Area, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Seaside la Casita Entrance and Pool Area - Getting Ready for Guests

Seaside la Casita Bedroom, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Seaside la Casita Jenn and Glenn Tour Bedroom

 Seaside la Casita Entrance, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Seaside la Casita - Glenn and Jenn Villa Orientation

Cabo Resort Corridor - Expansive & Empty Beaches

Cabo Villa del los Faros

Down on the Cabo Resort Corridor, among the many homes we viewed, the team toured the Cabo Villa del los Faros, which is a true family vacation villa. The home has an amazing water feature on entry, a large living space including a fab kitchen, and an adorable living space for children, complete with tea room, built-in bunks and its own bath. The backyard is a great space for relaxing, with a gazebo and small lawn area, letting little travelers enjoy playtime where you can observe them from the Jacuzzi.

Cabo Villa del los Faros Jacuzzi Area, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa del los Faros - Jenn by the Jacuzzi 

Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa del los Faros - Jenn in the Living Room Area

Cabo Villa del los Faros Children’s Trundle, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa del los Faros - Jenn Checks out Children’s Trundle

Cabo Whale View Villa

Nearby,  still on the Cabo Resort Corridor and closer to the beach, is the Cabo Whale View Villa. This villa is a true show stopper.  The five-bedroom villa, which accommodates 16, is new and large, yet channels the essence of a historic structure that’s been converted for modern living. The team inspected the villa’s bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and even checked out the hammock! Outside, besides the home’s expansive pool area, the team walked the putting green and stepped into the private wine cellar, which is used for intimate catered events.

Cabo Whale View Villa Hammock, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa - Jenn Relaxing in the Hammock

Cabo Whale View Villa Entrance, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa - Glenn and Jenn at Entrance

Cabo Whale View Villa Mosaic Entrance, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa - Entrance Floor Mosaic

Cabo Whale View Villa Jacuzzi Backyard, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa - Jenn in the Backyard

Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa Living Room

Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Whale View Villa - Private Wine Cellar and Dining Area

Cabo San Lucas - Where Luxury Comes to Party

Down in Cabo San Lucas, the team toured many homes peppered throughout the area, concentrating on the Pedegral neighborhood. The homes here are all diverse and achieve a high luxury standard.

I was blown away with Cabo and pleasantly surprised with how safe it felt and how convenient it was!  The warm ocean water, the incredible food, unique shops and the local hospitality offer something that people of all ages can enjoy."

Jenn, Exotic Estates Sr. Villa Specialist

Cabo Villa Marcella

One house that was particularly interesting was Cabo Villa Marcella, which is unique because it sits on a very quiet corner of the beach! Cabo Villa Marcella is a sprawling home, with smooth stone flooring, which make sense for a home on the beach, as sand is easily swept up. The villa has a gorgeous private pool that runs along its side, directly abutting the sand. At Cabo Villa Marcella, you will wake up to panoramic beach views, and have the option of beach or terra- a true luxury!

Cabo Villa Marcella Entrance, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa Marcella - Jenn at the Entrance & Mosaic Floor

Cabo Villa Marcella Pool, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa Marcella Pool - Shanon Testing the Water

Villa Cabo Bellissima

Back up on the hill in Pedegral was another spectacular villa called Villa Cabo Bellissima. This home is another giant. Built into the rugged hillside on multiple levels, it makes the most of its position and offers commanding views of Land’s End and the beaches below.  The home has not one, but two spectacular pools, each boasting incredible views. The home is also filled with playful art and affords lots of room for entertaining. The team cooled off at this palace overlooking the Pacific. Take a look for yourself!

Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Villa Cabo Bellissima - Shanon Checking Out the View

Villa Cabo Bellissima Jenn Pool, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Villa Cabo Bellissima Jenn Cooling off in Pool

Villa Cabo Bellissima Shanon Living Room, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Villa Cabo Bellissima - Shanon in Living Room

Villa Cabo Bellissima Shanon Living Room Art, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Villa Cabo Bellissima - Shanon Checking out Living Room Art

Villa Cabo Bellissima Jenn  and Glenn Lower Lawn, Cabo Villas, Cabo Villa Inspections, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Villa Cabo Bellissima Jenn  and Glenn on the Lower Lawn

We work hard to know our homes and destinations - and we work with only the best to make sure you have only the best. Take advantage of our team's expertise and email an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist today!

Surfing in Los Cabos urn:uuid:a27b113c-6922-8427-53e0-6676831fc9a9 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Surfing Los Cabos

Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Whether you are traveling with family or came to this gorgeous destination just to surf, you are in for a real treat of gorgeous waves!

Split into three main areas: Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and the Los Cabos Resort Corridor, there are plenty of beautiful beaches with point and beach breaks. There is also Todos Santos to the north, which is a small artist’s town about an hour up the coast from Cabo San Lucas. Cabo is one of the few spots in the world where surfers are exposed to two major swell directions within a one-hour drive and generally, if it’s flat in the north, you head to the south and vise versa. This makes for a popular destination to catch waves.

Gaining Popularity

Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo became a popular surf area in the 50’s, mostly visited by California sailors and fisherman who were landing on the coast. Popularity also grew after the filming of the 1968 surf movie, “Golden Breed,” demanding for an airstrip to be built in San Jose del Cabo. A few years later in the 1980’s, The Los Cabos area started to get even more popular, bringing surfers from around the world to enjoy this laid-back party town and the waves.

The development of homes and resorts have contributed to the increase waves of surfers and The Fletcher Los Cabos Classic, which was a surf contest put on by Kelly Slater in 1991, helped get the word out. 

Cabo provides the perfect combinaton of peppy Mexican beach town and relaxating resort destination, often bringing those who are looking for a nice place to vacation with friends and family that also provides the opportunity to enjoy a bit of surfing. However, it is catching on as a proper surf destination, bringing more tourists who come expressly to catch waves along the Pacific Coast and the Sea of Cortez.

With relatively consistent wave action, the warm water of Los Cabos is perfect for riding. Although the arid climate can be a bit dusty inland, the waves are great and, if you're luck, you can head up to Todos Santos to the north when it's breaking and see some of the world's greatest surfers take on its barrels.

Being so close to Southern California and Texas (about two hours flying time), it’s no wonder that more surfers are choosing Los Cabos as their next surf destination. 

Surf All Year

One Los Cabos' biggest draws as a surf destination, is that waves can be found during all seasons. The best and busiest season to surf in Los Cabos is June-August, which is when the hurricane-driven swells push their way up the East Cape’s coast.  Surfers can also enjoy the waves that result from other Southern Hemisphere swells, as well as hot and humid weather ranging from the 90’s to 100’s. The water can be very warm this time of year and good sunblock and hydration are critical!

Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Once fall hits from September to November, this is a good time to visit as the tourists have usually returned home and the south swells are still making their way to the Los Cabos coasts. The water temperature a bit cooler, but still much warmer than in Southern California and not requiring a wetsuit.

When winter hits in Los Cabos, so do the tourists. December through February brings a hike in prices, traffic, and, as a result, more crowded surf. Since the water is still warm, expect the lineup to be sprinkled with more beginner and intermediate surfers, making for a busy day catching waves. Come spring, although the waves are still frequent and the crowds have died off, watch for high winds on the East Cape.

Getting to the Breaks

Road to Surf, Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

You will have no shortage of options when it comes to accommodations.  With Exotic Estates Cabo vacation rentals found all along the coast, you can find the perfect home for your surf trip, whether you're traveling in a group of four, a large group, and everything in between. For tips on how to navigate Los Cabos, check out our blog: Arrival In Cabo – Things You Need to Know.  If you are bringing or renting boards for a large group, consider renting an SUV or staying closest to one of the breaks.

Surf Villa, Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Depending on where you surf, you can find all types of breaks in Cabo from beach-breaks on the Pacific Side to point-breaks on the East Cape.  The three most popular and main breaks in San Jose Del Cabo are called Old Man’s, Zippers, and La Roca (The Rock), and are only about a 20-minute drive from the airport with relatively easy access.  Just head to the Cabo Surf Hotel, where you will find a dirt parking lot below the bridge.

If you are looking for a guided map or PDF of the best surf spots, we recommend downloading from one of the popular surf sites such as Magic Seaweed or  Of course, we always advise that you are respectful and mindful of the locals, who are generally friendly and helpful to tourists.

Renting Gear

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned surfer, check out Costa Azul Surf Shop for your board rentals and other needs. Although the water is usually too warm for wetsuits, you can grab swimsuits, rash guards, and other accessories whether you're renting boards or you've brought your own.  They will also help guide you to the best spots for your experience level and provide lessons and excursions, great for large groups and families looking to experience the waves of Cabo.

No matter where you choose to surf, staying in a vacation home is the best way to experience Los Cabos. The Exotic Estates team as toured the area, so we can provide expert advice on where to stay. Give us a call today to find the best vacation rental for your trip to Los Cabos!

Surf Villa, Los Cabos Surfing, Surf Lessons Cabo, Cabo Waves, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals




All photos are property of Exotic Estates, International.

Los Cabos Surf photos courtesy of Eric Bergman




Farm to Table in San Jose del Cabo at Flora Farms urn:uuid:9fb2028a-62cf-202a-5372-d4f2c92a2410 2017-08-17T02:43:29-07:00 Farm to Table in San Jose Del Cabo at Flora Farms

Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

While you are in Los Cabos, you will have a plethora of local restaurants serving locally sourced cuisine to choose from. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind, and a bit surprising,  dining experience, you will want to make reservations at Flora Farms. 

Only a short drive from San Jose and about 20 minutes from Cabo San Lucas, this charming and unique place  is definitely worth the trip. The Exotic Estates' team took a trip to experience (and taste) this beautiful farm, restaurant and artisan center for ourselves…

Flora Farms is an organic farm located in the hillsides of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains and has been farming without the use of pesticides or GMO’s for over ten years. Using the fertile grounds alongside the Sea of Cortez, Flora Farms practices a growing season that corresponds with the local high season and the need for exported produce in the surrounding area. 

Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation RentalsFlora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Once you arrive, you will notice the colorful array of fresh and local crops that surround a warm and inviting compound of small boutiques, coffee and wine bars, and an outdoor dining area and kitchen.  When you schedule your reservations, be sure to catch one of the daily farm tours, where you will get a private tour of the seasonal fruits and veggies that will later adorn your plate.  Don’t worry if you miss the tours, as you are free to walk around the property and enjoy the gardens on your own, which are well labeled for your enjoyment. 

Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

The staff at Flora Farms works largely by hand, only turning the soil minimally and sometimes not at all. The cultivation of the crops comes from weeding by hand, instead of using layers of compost and mulch. During your tour, you will see deliciously fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and over 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs. 

Flora Farms also has a ranch to supply the field kitchen, featuring humanely raised chicken, eggs, pork, and beef.  All of the animal feed is free of hormones and antibiotics and at Flora Farms, you can trust that the protein on your plate lived a happy life on the nearby 150-acre ranch.  

Produce Stand, Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals
 After your farm tour, take a look around in the boutique shop featuring colorful artwork, various gifts, and fine jewelry that is all locally made. Peek into the soap shop where you can smell the fresh herbs of the farm in various bath and body goods! Then, head over to the coffee and wine bar where you can sip on one of many delicious local wines or an espresso. Walk down the spiral staircase to the wine cellar and spend time with your guests, and your beverage, surrounded by the finest reds and whites of Mexico!

Local Artists Gallery, Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

As we sat down for dinner, we read over the menu, which is filled with healthy meals crafted from farm fresh ingredients. A true celebration of the day’s harvest, you will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse and imaginative items on the menu. 

Outdoor Dining, Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals


You may catch a breath of bread-filled air, as the staff at Flora Farms arrives early to bake the fresh baguettes, ciabatta, sourdough, and focaccia bread. Dip one of these into the homemade herb butter and you will have to force yourself to stop before your meal comes!

For the main course, choose between a house-made pizza, one of many delicious meat and vegetable plates, homemade pasta dishes, and plenty of vegetarian options. A note the pizza; a tough-to-please Italian team member ordered the marinara pizza, which is a true test of pizza-making skills and gave the pie the thumbs up!

Your evening libations are just as fresh, using a range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs for infusion. Try the famous heirloom carrot Farmarita, or we recommend the homemade sangria. 

Farm to Drink, Fresh Drinks, Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Just as often as Flora Farms serves fresh local food to its guests, it also finds ways to improve synergies between the farm, ranch, restaurant and the market. Recently, they realized that their chickens love to munch on old flowers from the garden and that the pigs will devour the vegetable trimmings. This is just another way Flora Farms is helping to define the organic dining experience in Cabo.

Farm View, Flora Farms, Farm to Table, Organic Dining San Jose Del Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Don’t just take our word for it, treat your guests to the colorful local cuisine of San Jose Del Cabo. If you want to plan a night at this magical place, make reservations at Flora Farms today as soon as you have your dates to ensure that they can accommodate you on your preferred night!


All photos by John Di Rienzo

Thar She Blows!! Fun Family Adventure with the Buccaneer Queen in Cabo San Lucas urn:uuid:0b1ac3ca-6501-f26b-0ac3-069263eac21b 2018-01-03T16:29:29-07:00 Thar She Blows!! Fun Family Adventure with the Buccaneer Queen in Cabo San Lucas

If you and your family are looking for an amazingly fun Cabo adventure, you will want to take a trip on the famous Buccaneer Queen!

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Although it may seem cheesy at first glance, the Buccaneer Queen All-Inclusive Tour provides a fun, safe, and entertaining tour around the beautiful Sea of Cortez. Get an up close and personal view of the Cabo San Lucas Arch, Lovers Beach, and visit Chileno Bay where you will literally jump off the boat for your own private snorkel tour!

Boat Crew, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

The Buccaneer Queen is staffed with a fun and lively bunch that are genuinely excited to have you on board. Tap into your inner pirate on this awesome 96-foot long wooden ship, where you will also get to enjoy unlimited drinks!

Still not convinced? We took the tour for ourselves and lived to tell you about the awesome voyage…

Boat Party, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

The Buccaneer Queen has four tours each day. Each tour provides plenty of food and drink, live entertainment and games, and a snorkeling experience at Chileno Bay (except the sunset tour).  The large (and hard to miss) boat was built in 1968 in Coronado California, crafted to replicate an ancient galleon that sailed to different waters many years ago, by ferocious pirates who were in search of treasures.  The Buccaneer Queen tour takes you on an exciting adventure where you can experience the spirit of these historical characters and their transgressions firsthand!

Fresh Drinks, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

The Buccaneer Queen sails four times a day offering a breakfast and lunch snorkel tour, a whale watching tour (seasonal) and a sunset tour. You can also book a private tour for large families and corporate outings.

The Exotic Estates team took a lunchtime snorkel tour and we arrived to check in for our voyage about 30 minutes before departure, which is located conveniently at the Can San Lucas Marina just behind the Breathless Hotel. Once we settled with the front desk and turned the corner, we took at seat in the docking area which was filled with comfortable seating and friendly bartenders eager to take your drink order.  

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation RentalsCabo San Lucas Harbor, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation RentalsCabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This is the perfect place to enjoy a cold Mexican Beer or cocktail, or if you are dehydrated from the night before be sure to drink plenty of water! (Note that if you are planning to get in the water, you cannot drink once you get on the boat before the snorkeling tour. But be prepared for some after-snorkel tequila madness)!

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

We boarded the massive vessel right on time, where we found a seat for our group.  Our particular tour was on a Monday, which is less busy than usual. If you are looking for the full party experience, book your tour on a Saturday or Sunday as those days are expected to be the busiest. If you prefer a tour with a little more breathing room for the family, try to book during the week.

Upon our departure from the Cabo San Lucas Marina, we were greeted with a fruity (non-alcoholic) beverage and introduced to the pirates! Take a quick look around and try to spot your Exotic Estates vacation rental!

Fresh Drinks, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

The first stop on the expedition is the famous (and beautiful) Cabo San Lucas Arch. The Buccaneer Queen stops long enough for you to snap selfie’s and photo’s before charging on. 

Royal Arch, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Now that the pirate tour has officially begun, take a bite out of some fresh watermelon (with a dash of Mexican spices) and let the games begin!

Fresh Watermelon, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

We won’t giveaway the entire experience, but take a look at the photos for a good idea of your expected on-board entertainment.

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Crew, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

About an hour into the voyage, you will arrive at the beautiful Chileno Bay, which is just northeast of Cabo San Lucas.  The tour provides all guests with a snorkeling mask and fins, so no need to worry about bringing these items with you. Once the anchor is in, put on your mask and fins and get prepared to walk to plank, matey!

Los Cabos Coast, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

One of the tour’s staff will lead the snorkel and take the group safely to the best spot for finding fish and rock formations. The Cabo San Lucas Harbor Patrol requires everyone to wear a life jacket at all times, but if you are a strong swimmer it is permitted to secure the vest around your wrist while you swim. Since you will be in the water for about 45 minutes, you might find a break on the life vest enjoyable!

Snorkel Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals


Los Cabos Snorkel Tour, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation RentalsSnorkeling, Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Now that you have arrived back on the ship, take a fresh water shower and get ready to party! The staff will serve a delicious Mexican meal open up alcoholic beverages to those that are 18+.  Enjoy a cold margarita and get ready for the amusing (and loud) pirate shenanigans!

Cabo San Lucas Boat Tour, Buccaneer Queen, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Once you arrive back at the dock, you and the family will be wishing it wasn’t over. Packed with kid-friendly fun and adult-friendly beverages, the Buccaneer Queen tour is not to be skipped!

For more information on booking your tour with the Buccaneer Queen, visit


Written by Shanon Searls

Deep Sea Fishing in Cabo urn:uuid:ae0e0412-b89d-2526-04ae-f31d5cef6377 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 A Beginner's Guide to Deep Sea Fishing in Cabo San Lucas 

While San Jose del Cabo has a historic center with a grand plaza and mission church, Cabo San Lucas has its marina. All roads lead to the marina in Cabo, and the daily parade of boats going into and out of the harbor a testament to the ongoing popularity of sport fishing here.

On a recent trip to Cabo to inspect homes and experience some of the local sites and attractions, we went on a team fishing trip. This was the first time for many of us and we’re excited to share what we learned on our trip!

Cabo San Lucas Fishing Boats, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Hiring a Boat in Cabo San Lucas

The first thing you need to do is arrange for a boat to take you and your party out for the day. There are many charter companies operating out of Cabo San Lucas. We chose to work with Pisces, which has an established name and large fleet; we rented a 31 ft. boat called the Rebecca. The boats have bathrooms and a table for indoor eating if needed.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Fishing Boat Rebecca


This is where things can get confusing and downright murky. The price of our charter covered up to six people and included a very basic lunch and beverages, including water and cold beer.

There are lots of little extras that come up in the discussion that can make it feel like you’re being nickel and dimed, but we understand that it’s all quite normal. Here’s what we mean.

When you get your price, you will also have to figure in the cost of the following:

Fishing Licenses – the cost per person is $16, with 16% sale tax; minors under 18 do not need a license. This is paid at the dock.

Docking Fee – there’s a docking fee of $100 that you need to pay at the marina.

Tips – the tips for your crew are not included in your fee. You can add an additional 10 – 20% on the cost of the charter.

In sum, we paid around $1,000 for our fishing charter.

Trip Duration

The day starts early, very early. You are to be at the dock for a 6:30 a.m. departure, where you will pay for your fishing licenses and be introduced to your crew.

They have coffee and some snacks available for the anglers for free, so you can fuel up before you board your boat. There was also a vendor selling breakfast items outside of the dock area, which looked and smelled pretty good!

The entire trip lasts from roughly 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Sportfishing Trip

What Happens Once on the Boat

Once on board and acquainted with your crew (we had a pilot and a deckhand) you’ll depart the dock and join the flotilla making of boats making its way out into the open waters.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Deep Sea Fishing Sunrise

On the way out of the harbor, you may stop for live bait, like we did, and then continue on your way out into fishing zones offshore. You’ll get to experience the beauty of the sunrise on the water, as you power out to the fishing sites.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Deep Sea Fishing

What You’ll Catch

The waters here are loaded with good-eating fish. We wanted mahi mahi, known here as dolphin fish. But there are plenty of game fish in the water, including wahoo, tuna, snapper and area’s famed sailfish.

There are limits on the number of fish you can catch, and it is very popular to catch and release billfish. Someone in our group caught a marlin and we released it back into the waters to swim another day.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Marlin

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Marlin Release

Where You Go to Catch Fish

We wanted mahi mahi, so we stuck fairly close to the shore along the Pacific side of the peninsula. We caught a total of five mahi mahi, each of which weighed about 12 lbs. We did go out a bit further off shore once we had our fish, and that was where we hooked our marlin - smallish at around 60 lbs.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish

To catch the big game fish, you’ll need to go further out to sea. We were told that you will travel up to 20 miles out to hunt for the big ones. The winning anglers in the Bisbee tournament that wrapped up when we were there caught a 583 lb. blue marlin, taking over $206,000 in prize money.

What It’s Like to Catch Game Fish

Hooking a fish is a rush. There’s a current of excitement in the boat as the deck hands set you up to haul in your catch. Then, it’s just a matter of strength and patience. The fish we brought in were only around 12 – 15 lbs. and they were quite strong. The entire process of reeling them in took about 20 minutes once the fish was on the line.

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Reeling in Fish

You only keep fish that you plan to eat or take home, otherwise all fish should be released.

How Do You Take Fish Home

The fishing charter company will likely fillet your fish for you and/or pack them up in ice if you wish. If you want them to pack the fish and get them ready for transport home, they will take a day to prep. We had ours filleted and separated into five bags, which we brought home and froze ourselves.

Raising of the Flags and Other Fun Facts

You will notice flags on boats returning to the harbor that show which fish were caught and the quantity. You will notice that we have a marlin flag, with a “T” flag below it, signifying for “tag and release.”

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Fish Catch Flags

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Deep Sea Fishing Flag

Also, because the harbor is so busy, and there is so much fish coming in and out of the wharf, there are some colorful characters who make the best of out of a fishy situation. Namely, there is a seal who likes to jump onto the rear of boats and take any bait or other fishy snacks available, and, once of the dock, there are a few pushy pelicans who will boldly hop onto your boat and steal bait fish!

Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas Pelican

Flying Fish

You’ll need to check with your airline about the rules for bringing home fish. However, the general guideline is that it will need to be frozen and packed in a leak-free cooler, and then checked as baggage. I was able to pack my portion into a watertight, soft cooler and then seal it in my checked bag.

What Else to Bring

If you tend to get seasick, beware, the water can be rough. Bring the usual things you need for the beach, like sunblock and towels, and any particular snack that your group prefers. You will have plenty of water, beer and a basic lunch pack provided.

Get out there and catch dinner when you’re down in Cabo – it will probably be the most delicious fish you ever eat. And don't forget to pick the perfect Exotic Estates Cabo Villa for your group!

The Sun Also Rises – In Cabo urn:uuid:f08151a9-4162-fa29-f10c-ef3df734e246 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Cabo is Taking Off as a Destination - Here's Why

Cabo is Easy to Reach by Air

At just two hours flying time from Los Angeles, two and a half from Houston and just over three to San Francisco and Denver, Cabo is within easy reach from many major US cities. Seattle, Minneapolis and Atlanta are just a little over four hours away, and there are nonstops from New York and Chicago, as well as from Calgary and Vancouver in Canada. The area is well-served and easier, not to mention more affordable, to reach than many other international destinations.

Arriving in Los Cabos International Airport you see the first cues that this Mexican resort area is thriving. The airport is new and out on the tarmac are all the main players: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United.

Exotic Estates Los Cabos Airport Airlines

Cabo’s Efficient Infrastructure – an Ongoing Build

The international terminal is spotless and has a newish feel, with polished floors and a modern look that shows a major investment in infrastructure.

Cabos Airport New and Clean, Los Cabos Airport, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Leaving the airport, you’ll likely hop on the efficient toll road to your villa or hotel in San Jose del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas: the toll (based on the October 2016 exchange rate) was just $1.80 US to San Jose del Cabo and $3.60 to Cabo San Lucas, and they take and make change with US dollars as well as Mexican pesos. The Mexican government has made sure that the experience of arriving in Cabo is as easy as possible for American visitors. (If you miss the toll road, don't worry. You will go through town, which only adds about 5 minutes of drive time). 

Exotic Estates Los Cabos Toll Road, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

You’ll see construction all over the peninsula and it speaks, again, to the investment in the area, as there are large developments going up along the Resort Corridor every couple miles.

FACTOID: Did you know that the Mexican peso and US Dollar share the same symbol? The reason is that both monies can trace their roots back to the old Spanish dollar.

Costco, Walmart & Starbucks - Stores in Cabo for American & Canadian Villa Renters

Beyond the infrastructure supporting transit to and around the area, Los Cabos welcomes and supports villa renters in other, more practical ways. There is a Costco, a WalMart and an amazing Mexican mega-store called La Comer,  all of which are ideal for stocking up on supplies for your Cabo vacation villa.

In addition to the mega-stores, you will see plenty of familiar storefronts like Starbucks and OfficeMax in shopping centers that would be at home in any American city.

Exotic Estates Cabo Supermarket Image, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Comer Market, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Cabo Costco Exterior, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo - Secure and Relaxed

We have all read the headlines about the cartels in Mexico, but the entire stretch from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas feels and is a safe place. To compare it to another area, Cabo has a mellow, beach-town vibe reminiscent of the Southern California beach cities. One person on our trip insightfully commented, “It’s like Palm Springs on the Ocean.”

Welcoming the Villa Renter

While many American destinations that rely on tourist dollars are turning their backs on the villa renter, Cabo has rolled out the red carpet and people are accepting the welcome with spectacular satisfaction.

Renters will find villas that range from charming two and three-bedroom bungalow-style homes to mega-villas boasting up to nine bedrooms able to host parties of 16 or more. Moreover, many homes allow for special events, so weddings are an option in Cabo.

20 Miles of Diverse Perfection

Los Cabos is also a winner because it offers different style communities to suit different traveler tastes. From historic and cozy San Jose del Cabo to its more splashy cousin to the west, Cabo San Lucas.

From quaint small town Mexico, to refined and quiet beachfront communities along the Resort Corridor to sometimes rowdy Cabo San Lucas, you will find a spot to fit your vacation style in Los Cobos.

The Zones

There are three geographic areas to consider when you think of “Cabo.” Starting in the east, San Jose del Cabo, moving west to the Resort Corridor along the coast between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, and then Cabo San Lucas itself at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, straddling the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.

The distance from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas is about 20 miles. The four-lane road that runs along the coast is well-maintained and the ride between the two towns takes just about 20 minutes.

San Jose del Cabo

San Jose del Cabo is a cute town with a historic center and historic mission dating back to the 1700s. It’s also home to the Los Cabos International Airport, where most airlines land. There’s a large plaza that hosts public concerts and lots of charming, Colonial buildings that are home to restaurants, bars and shops selling local goods.

Around San Jose del Cabo are some very tony, private communities that feature stunning homes and elegant vistas, along with beach clubs and golf. Here are just a few Exotic Estates villas that are found in this area.

Cabo Villa Tranquility

A seven-bedroom, seven-bath beachfront home located in the gated and exclusive Fundadores neighborhood. With room for 14 guests, this showcase home is great for entertaining or even a corporate retreat.  There isalso an elevator that makes it work for people with mobility issues. The photos below were taken recently and give you a sense of the grandeur of the property.

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Tranquility Pool and Ocean View, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Tranquility Indoor Outdoor Living, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Tranquility Fountain and Mosaic, Exotic Estates, Vacation RentalsExotic Estates Cabo Villa Tranquility Dining Table, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Tranquility Terrace View, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Los Cabos White House

One of the only full-service vacation villas in Cabo, offering a fabulous chef and butler, as well as on-site spa services, the Los Cabos White House accommodates 15 guests in beachfront splendor. This home truly is like a private resort, with a pool that comes complete with a waterslide and a terrace that would be the envy of any Leading Hotel.

This full-service villa complex, sitting on a gorgeous and empty beach, offers true luxury and effortless living.

Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House Pool and Ocean View, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House Villa View, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Los Cabos White House Living Room, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Casa Cortez Beach Villa

This villa is far more beautiful in person than can be represented in photos. It’s bigger and the setting is just awe-inspiring.

There are five bedrooms that can accommodate up to 12 in this home and a large terrace that looks down to a private beach. Incidentally, this villa is the same one that is featured in our Exotic Cabo Villa Escape Sweeps, where you can enter for a chance to win a stay here for you and three lucky guests!

Some might consider this villa on the Resort Corridor, but it’s so close to San Jose del Cabo that we are including it in that area of the Coast.

Exotic Estates Casa Cortez Beach Villa Sunrise View, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Casa Cortez Beach Villa Terrace View Sunrise - JDR

Exotic Estates Casa Cortez Beach Villa Infinity Pool View, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Casa Cortez Beach Villa Master Bedroom, cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Los Cabos Resort Corridor

The Resort Corridor is the term used to describe the roughly 20-mile coastline that runs from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. It’s a short 20 minute ride between the two towns on the well-maintained road, and along this ribbon of pristine sandy shores and rocky promontories are several gated villa communities that run up to the beach. These communities have a diverse collection of villas – there is nothing cookie-cutter here.

This "in-between" area may seem an odd place to enjoy a Cabo vacation, but it’s actually a great option, as it’s quiet and relaxed, yet within easy reach of either Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo. This is area is also set to boom. There are several large developments underway along the corridor, including luxury villa developments.

Cabo Whale View Villa

Located in the secure Cabo del Sol community, adjacent to the prestigious San Golf Course, the Cabo Whale View Villa is an elegant, stately vacation villa built in a solid, old-world, farm-house style. Walking into the home, you are taken by its grand living space and the view out to the expansive pool area, with the beach and ocean behind. There is a putting green, a gorgeous garden area and a wine cellar that can be used for catered dinners. This home is more beautiful in person than can be conveyed through photos.

Exotic Estates Casa Whale View Villa Living Room, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Casa Whale View Villa Pool, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Cabo Villa de los Faros

This villa, with its seven bedrooms, including an amazing children’s bedroom with built-in bunks and a setting for tea parties, can accommodate up to 14 guests. It sits in the secure Cabo del Sol community, adjacent to the prestigious San Golf Course, and offers a pool, Jacuzzi and a private yard area for playing. Truly a family-friendly home where everyone has a spot!

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa de los Faros Living Room, Cabo, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa de los Faros Bunk Beds- JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa de los Faros Jacuzzi - JDR

Villa Cabo Good Life

This villa, with its five bedrooms and room for 14, is located directly across the street from Cabo Villa de los Faros.  This villa is beautifully decorated, with tasteful and unique art pieces. 

Villa Cabo Good Life has a commanding view of the Sea of Cortez. The terrace is a beautifully designed, with a large pool and jacuzzi on one level. There are nice details in this home, such as the unique, rustic ceilining in the living room.

Rent this house alone, or rent it along with the Cabo Villa de los Faros if you have a big group of friends with lots of children in tow, or a family reunion.

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Good Life Terrace - JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Good Life Living Room - JDR

Exotic Estates Los Cabo Corridor - JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Good Life Fire Pit - JDR

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo was the original draw for the area. The town grew up around its marina, due to the world-class deep-sea fishing to be enjoyed in its surrounding waters. When Exotic Estates was visiting, a Bissbee international tournament with a huge purse was just wrapping up. Our team chartered a boat and caught five Mahi Mahi, which were delicious.

Cabo has plenty of options, but it’s the stunning ocean-facing villas in the exclusive and gated Pedegral neighborhood that we like best!

Cabo Villa Marcella

Cabo Villa Marcella is a unique home in that it is in the private area of Pedegral, comes with a large pool and sits directly on the beach! The location keeps the area quiet and feeling very private. There are five bedrooms and accommodates 14 guests.

Exotic Estates Cabo Villa Marcella Pool - JDR

Cabo Turquoise Villa - 9 Bedroom

This is hands down our favorite villa in Cabo. The villa is a unique showpiece in that it is quite large, with nine bedrooms able to accommodate up to 28, and yet is decorated so warmly, that it feels like a cozy family home.

The living room opens out onto a spectacular terrace that comes with breathtaking views of the beaches and a pool that redefines infinity-edge. There is a theater, a shuffle board area and a play area for children. The kitchen and dining areas are large and equipped with professional appliances. 

You simply cannot do better than this incredible Exotic Estates villa in Cabo. This villa is also available as a 4 bedroom.

Exotic Estates Cabo Turquoise Villa Pool - JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Turquoise Villa Pool View - JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Turquoise Villa Living Room - JDR

Exotic Estates Cabo Turquoise Villa Kitchen- JDR


Add to this a gloriously sunny climate, miles and miles of impeccable beaches, warm blue water and dramatic mountains, and you can understand why the area seems to be taking off.

Our team had to admit that Los Cabos gives Hawaii a run for its money. Not only is it stunning, but you get more villa for your dollar, and the quality is top notch. Also, those looking for a sunny place and charming home in which to host milestone events are welcome here.  

Check out Exotic Estates Cabo San Lucas, Resort Corridor and San Jose del Cabo villas and find your place in the sun!


Photo Credits

Baja California Sur Map

All other photos property of Exotic Estates, Inc. 

Arrival in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Helpful Tips urn:uuid:a5656539-d76c-d814-0abf-4024dd2c85bf 2017-09-27T22:46:17-07:00 The Airport – Los Cabos International in San Jose del Cabo

Flying down to Cabo you will most likely land at the large regional airport, Los Cabos International (SJD).

The airport looks new and clean, and seems well-run. There were several people on the plane who needed wheelchairs, and the airport staff was there at the ready in the jet-way.

Getting through the airport was a snap; we arrived on a Saturday in October, so not peak season. We didn’t wait long at all for our bags or have to wait long at immigration. Time-wise, we landed at 4:45 PM and were driving out of the airport with our limo service by 5:08 PM.

Los Cabos Airport, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Tequila Tasting - Duty Free

You’ll know you’re in Mexico because the duty free shop in the baggage claim area has a tequila tasting table, so if you’re ready to hit the ground partying, you’ll be able to sample and purchase essentials before you leave the airport.

Los Cabos Airport Tequila Tasting Bar, Los Cabos Airport, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Rental Cars

Rental car companies are located right inside the airport terminal. So if you’ve rented, you can take care of everything right there.

Note – there are lots of fees associated with rental cars in Mexico. You cannot go by the pricing you read on or other websites because you need to purchase insurance here – you can opt for just collision, but it’s not advised. For our rentals, the total cost of the insurance, damage and liability, ran about $40 per day. As a reference, we rented a very basic four-door Camry through Avis, who delivered the car to our villa. In total we paid about $90 per day.

We arranged a private transfer to our villa, Casa Cortez Beach Villa in San Jose del Cabo, and Avis delivered the car to us the night we arrived – a very nice touch.

Los Cabos Airport Rental Cars, Los Cabos Airport, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Getting Out of the Airport – Running the Gauntlet of Drivers

Arriving can be a bit overwhelming because of all the people trying to "help" you find your transport. Basically, you need to be ready to assaulted by aggressive drivers looking to give you a ride to your villa or hotel. There are two rooms that you must pass through after customs; one room has a bank of kiosks where those on a vacation package can turn in their airport transfer voucher and be assigned a driver to take them to their resort. We did not do this, but this is how this room was explained to us (please bear that in mind).

Entering the next room, you will encounter very aggressive drivers, who are similar to the ones who lurk outside of the baggage claim areas at JFK – very in your face and definitely trying to take advantage of dazed travelers. But...


Legal taxis will be waiting there as will your reserved driver who should be holding a sign with your name.

Note on Transfer Companies: we used TransCabo, a reputable service. The ride is about $100 in a large Suburban to car, that can hold up to 5 or 6 people. They were very professional and the car was clean and new. The driver was friendly and gave us cold bottled water the moment we arrived at the car.

Toll Roads vs. the Scenic Route

You can take a modern toll road into town or the old non-toll road a.k.a. the scenic route, which will add about five minutes to your ride and brings you through parts of San Jose del Cabo. We took the modern toll road and it was a breeze.

To take the toll road to the coast in San Jose del Cabo, you’ll need some cash in hand, Peso or US$, but no cards. The toll road to San Jose del Cabo is around $US 1.50 and to Cabo is about $3.60 (70 pesos at the time of our visit at around 19 pesos per 1 US$, in October 2016).

Drive Times

From the airport to our villa, which was near the Palmilla Resort, was about 20 minutes.

If you drive directly to Cabo, the ride is about 40 minutes.

Exchanging Cash

On exchanging, wait to get into town or just withdraw from an ATM for the best exchange rate, though most places will take US$.

Cabo San Lucas ATM Machines, Los Cabos Airport, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

Stores on Way

You can pop into McDonalds or Starbucks along the way to your villa along the Los Cabos Corridor between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.

We atayed at Casa Cortez Beach Villa – this villa is way more impressive than it seems It’s a large home in a gated community (24-hour guards) overlooking what is essentially a private beach.

Stock Up at Costco

Bring you Costco card, because you’ll want to stock on supplies at Costco on the outskirts of Cabo. We bought tons of food for the eight Exotic Estates team members who would be sharing Casa Cortez.

We bought…

Beverages: two large cases of water, a case of beer, a case of San Pellegrino sodas, juices, a bottle of Don Julio Tequilla, a bottle of wine, Starbucks Coffee (dry)

Food: lots of fruits and veges (you should rinse off veges in general with purified water, though Costco offers many of the same brands that you find in the US including Earthbound Farms), bread and muffins, sliced turkey and cheese, kiwis, apples, oranges and a pineapple, chips and salad dressing. Note – there is no margarita mix or proper salsa available at Costco.

All of this food, which is basically enough for several days of snacks and beverages cost a total of $270 US. The same amount of lunches, snack and drinks at a hotel, would cost you a fortune. Right there, your villa is looking like a smart move.

Also don’t forget to sign-up for our Exotic Cabo Villa Escape Sweepstakes for a chance to win a free vacation to gorgeous Casa Cortez!

Exotic Escapes for Your Winter Vacation urn:uuid:c9a72dbd-ef63-3189-974c-7264df3f1af5 2017-11-16T12:31:09-07:00 Exotic Escapes for Your Winter Vacation

Cool off from the hot summer months and take a winter escape with Exotic Estates. We have villas located in North America’s top ski-resorts, offering you and your guests plenty of options while planning to hit the slopes this winter. 

No matter what your experience level, whether you are traveling with a small family or a large group, our collection includes gorgeous villas that will accommodate all of your winter-vacation needs!   


Colorado has some of the best ski resorts in the world and there is simply no substitute for the Rocky Mountain slopes. If you are looking for bluebird skies and fresh powder days, head to the Colorado Rockies this winter.

Whether you are planning a family-friendly ski trip or looking for expert-only terrain with your powder hound pals, Colorado has the perfect terrain for you. The resorts in Colorado are usually the first to open and they often stay open the latest as well. Offering a ski season that kicks-off as early as October and ending in late April, this gives you plenty of time to choose the perfect villa for a trip that meets exceeds your expectations on or off the slopes!

Colorado also offers large and luxurious ski resorts, as well as hidden-gem ski areas, making it a perfect fit for any group. With some of the highest elevations, you can pretty much bet on finding fresh and dry powder during any season. 

For those who are looking for a slower pace, check out the cross-country ski areas, which are often more quiet and laid back than the alpine ski slopes. You can also strap on some snowshoes and enjoy one of 42 Colorado state parks!

No matter who you are traveling with or what skill level, guests will love spending a winter sojourn in the Colorado Rockies! With over 16 villas to choose from in Aspen, Beaver Creek, and Vail, you are sure to find the perfect one for your group. Here are just a few to get your inner powder hound psyched for the coming season!

Aspen Double Diamond Lodge

Colorado Villa, Winter Escape, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This Aspen, Colorado Vacation rental features incredible panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. With five bedrooms and six bathrooms, you can bring the entire family on a winter vacation of a lifetime!

Ideally located to hit the slopes, this Aspen Villa is located only a few minutes from the lifts. With over 42,000 square feet of grounds, guests can truly enjoy the peace and serenity that comes with mountain living. Designed for entertaining, this elegant lodge boasts a hot tub, fireplace, and gourmet kitchen that is perfect for large group dinners.

Set at the base of the Aspen mountains, come enjoy this plush vacation rental with deluxe slope access and five-star amenities!

Ritz-Carlton Beaver Creek Penthouse

Beaver Creek Colorado Villa, Winter Escape, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This private Exotic Estates ski-in/ski-out Beaver Creek condo overlooks the ski runs and Ritz Carlton pool. Featuring a mountain cabin's charm but the amenities of a five-star resort, guests who stay at this gorgeous two-story home will never want to leave.

Offering over 3,000 square feet of living space, this Beaver Creek vacation rental can accommodate up to eight guests. Come enjoy the beautiful features of this home such as wood-vaulted ceilings, wood flooring, gorgeous mountain views and unparalleled ski access!

Alpenglow Chalet

Colorado Villa, Winter Escape, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This mountain vacation home offers ski-in/ski-out elegance in Vail, Colorado! This six-bedroom home can accommodate up to 15 guests, making it the perfect winter vacation escape for large families and groups. This Vail Villa sits just above the Bachelor Gulch Chairlift, making slope access a dream.

Offering commercial appliances, gorgeous bedrooms, and plenty of home amenities, this mountain home will please the luxury-minded traveler who is looking for the absolute best this winter. Guests of this home will never forget the sweeping views of the Vail Valley and the backdrop of the Gore range that Alpenglow Chalet has to offer!


If you choose Utah for your winter vacation this year, you will understand why the license plate slogan reads "Greatest Snow on Earth."  In the winter months, Utah’s 14 different ski resorts become a playground for lovers of snow who are looking for amazing slopes.

The snow is light and dry, making Utah a great destination for your winter escape. For non-skiers, there are plenty of other exciting options such as fine dining, nightlife, and a plethora of fun family activities. Choose from snowmobiling, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing or ski touring, all of which can be found near the ski resorts.

Whether you choose to stay in Sundance, Deer Valley, Park City or the Canyons, you will find a wide range of trails that can accommodate any experience level.  Choose from one of 61 Utah vacation rentals for your 2016/2017 winter vacation!

Sundance Chic Chalet

Sundance Utah Villa, Winter Escape, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This Exotic Estates’ Sundance ski area vacation home can accommodate up to 14 guests and features over 3,500 square feet of living space. Offering two floors, a hot tub, and four luxurious bedrooms, this home is perfect for families and groups.

Sundance Chic Chalet has been called, "The most beautiful home on Sundance Mountain," by guests in the know and it is described by founder Robert Redford as an artists' community that happens to have world-class skiing. For those who want to enjoy a quiet vacation but still be close to the slopes, Park City is located a short 45-minute drive from the lower-key Sundance Resort area. 

Deer Valley Empire Chalet