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Air Canada Vacations - Travel Blog

24 Aug

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3x the Fun

August 24, 2016 | By |

The three Sandals Resorts in  Saint Lucia create the perfect  moment for you, whether that’s fine dining with dishes from around the world, endless water sports, or soaking in the natural beauty of the island. When you stay at one Sandals in Saint Lucia, you can play at all three.

Your vacation includes:

  • 3 Luxury Included® resorts
  • 27 restaurants with 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining
  • 22 bars
  • 10 pools
  • Round-trip transfers between the resorts

Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa

Saint Lucia’s most glamorous resort

This magnificent 220-acre estate on a half-mile, crescent-shaped beach is the ideal spot for your Luxury Included® vacation. Play a challenging round on the executive-style golf course. Relax in your stunning oceanfront suites. And indulge with 5-Star Diamond French cuisine at this incredible resort known as the sparkling jewel of the islands.

Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

Grand views on its own peninsula from sea to shining sea

Nestled between Rodney Bay to the west and the majestic Atlantic to the east, the magnificent Sandals Grande St. Lucian offers breathtaking views from every angle. Wander the mile-long beach. Let loose with endless water sports. And soak up the natural beauty and rich history of this picture-perfect postcard.

Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort & Spa

A true Garden of Eden by a tranquil sea

This intimate sanctuary is the essence of its name, halcyon: tranquil, peaceful and calm. Escape completely with refined service, classic island architecture that brings the outdoors in, and vibrant seaside gardens full of birds of paradise and exotic fruit trees. If ever there was a resort that embraced the quintessential Caribbean, this is surely it.

24 Aug

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Adventure Island

August 24, 2016 | By |

There’s so much to do and see in Saint Lucia you’ll never want to stop. Island Routes Caribbean Adventures has some of the best excursions on the island so you’ll never waste a second.

Private Soufrière Getaway

Your expert guide will take you on a romantic excursion of the island. Enjoy a scenic drive passing through the fishing villages of Anse La Raye and Canaries before arriving in the ancient capital, Soufrière. Enjoy time alone together to wander the winding streets and quiet shops of this enchanting town.

Hiking the Pitons

The iconic Pitons soar straight from the sea’s edge to nearly 3,000 feet.
A hike here is a winding journey through misty forest and boulder-strewn mountainside, but it’s the view that will take your breath away. After your triumph, take a refreshing dip in the sea before a sumptuous lunch at a local restaurant.

Soufrière Adventure Cruise

Enjoy a light breakfast as you cruise down the island’s west coast to Soufrière where you can stroll the lush botanical gardens and see how cocoa is made. For lunch, enjoy local creole specialties before heading to the sulphur springs for a rejuvenating mud bath. The last stop is time to snorkel over a protected reef in Marigot Bay.

Horseback Ride ‘n Swim in Saint Lucia

Saddle up as you set off to explore northern Saint Lucia on horseback. Your destination is a sandy beach on the Atlantic coast to take your horse for a refreshing swim. Enjoy some down time on the beach before the ride back to the stables. A unique way to experience a new side of Saint Lucia.

24 Aug

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Andre Knows Best

August 24, 2016 | By |

When you stay at a Sandals Resort in Saint Lucia, you get access to all the services and facilities of the other two resorts. It’s a great vacation and a great way to experience the island. Andre Dhanpaul is Regional Director for the Eastern Caribbean at Sandals Resorts. He knows everything about Saint Lucia and takes us on a tour to get you inspired.

What do guests like most about the Stay at 1, Play at 3 program?

The 27 dining options, free shuttle service between all 3 resorts and the opportunity to spend the day at a different location at no extra cost.

Of all the dishes at all 27 restaurants, do you have a favourite?

Soy Sushi at Sandals Halcyon is off the charts! The chefs there are outstanding.

Any pro-tips for a round of golf at Sandals La Toc?

The course challenges even the best of golfers, so, take a cart, listen to your caddy, because they are awesome, and hit the ball straight!

There are 21 dive sites here. What can we look forward to?

Simply beautiful aquatic life. A must-do is “The Pitons” to see a variety of crustaceans, critters and lots of schooling fish.

One place in Saint Lucia we all have to visit?

Soufrière, the ancient capital of this island nation. Mount Soufrière has great hiking. Anse Chastanet for snorkelling. And there’s always lots to do in the Rodney Bay area.

One thing that will surprise us?

The topography is stunning. It’s a volcanic island with a mountainous south  and hilly north; together it all forms spectacular scenery.

23 Aug

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Luscious Saint Lucia

August 23, 2016 | By |

Saint Lucia is an amazing island, full of charm, history and natural beauty. From the iconic Pitons to volcanic sulphur springs, and the Caribbean flare of Castries and Soufrière, there is wonder and joy wherever you turn.

Sandals® Resorts offer you three inspiring Luxury Included® resorts with 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining, impeccable service and endless water sports on the most beautiful beaches. Plus, with Sandals Stay at 1, Play at 3 program you can enjoy all the facilities of all the resorts. It’s like three vacations in one.

Complete your Air Canada Vacations package with the award-winning service of Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge and you might just have the perfect vacation.

23 Aug

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Meet Rodolfo – ACV Cayo Santa Maria (Santa Clara) Rep

August 23, 2016 | By |

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Planning a trip to Cayo Santa Maria (Santa Clara), Cuba? From travel tips to local recommendations, get the skinny from someone who knows it best.

1. Name
Rodolfo

2. How long have you been an ACV destination rep?
6 years

3. Describe Cayo Santa Maria in 3 words.
Secluded, charming, the perfect hideaway.

4. Why should people visit?
It has a nice temperature year round and it’s quiet. It offers an incredible colour of the ocean and there is fine sand all over the island for everyone to enjoy.

5. How is Cayo Santa Maria different from Varadero, Holguin, Cayo Coco, and Havana?
This is a quiet area, a little far from the city. However, there are two markets 15 minutes from every hotel and lots of interesting tours to discover the surrounding areas.

6. What is a surprising or little known fact?
I’ll give you both! Surprising fact: to get to Cayo Santa Maria, you cross a 48 KM causeway built in the ocean. Little known fact: there are fresh water lagoons as part of a national park to the eastern side of the island.

7. What local dish do you recommend and where is the best place to try it?
The Cuban congri  (rice and black beans cooked together with spices) is the most representative dish from Cuba along with the roasted pork and boiled manioc (yuca in Spanish). The best place is a casa on the main island; you can also try it during the jeep safari tour.

8. Where is your favourite spot to watch the sunset?
In the middle of the ocean on the Sunset Cruise.

9. Are you able to teach us a few local expressions?
¿Como estas?  = How are you?
¿Que bola? = What`s up?

10. In your opinion, what is a must-do in Cayo Santa Maria?
The catamaran excursion, which includes snorkelling in the world’s second largest coral reef and the best lobster lunch ever.

11. What is the best beach and why?
Megano beach at the Iberostar Ensenachos because of its horseshoe shape and because Cayo Santa Maria island shields it from the northern winds, so it looks like a natural pool.

Curious to know more about Cayo Santa Maria (Santa Clara), Cuba? Find out more on our website.

25 Jul

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Meet Miguel – ACV Varadero Rep

July 25, 2016 | By |

From travel tips to local recommendations, get the skinny from someone who knows Varadero best.

Miguel - Varadero rep

1. Name
Miguel

2. How long have you been an ACV destination rep?
Since December 2015

3. What do you love most about your job?
What I like most is the challenge to overcome any issue related to Customer Relations. The fact that one can learn something new every day from all kinds of different people and no single day, week, or month is the same, makes this job a very motivating one.

 4. How is Varadero different from Holguin, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, and Havana?
Varadero has more infrastructure than the other beach destinations in Cuba (Holguin, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco); we have 3 malls, many markets, a big number of night clubs, restaurants and bars, and a golf club. Havana is the top tourist destination in Cuba and it’s the ideal destination to experience city life, but not the beach. The beaches there are not comparable to the ones in Varadero. As Varadero is located only 140 km from Havana, it’s really the best choice for those who want to experience a little bit of everything: sun, beach, city and a local town’s real life.

 5. What is a surprising fact about Varadero?
Varadero is the closest destination to Havana, the capital city of Cuba; it takes only 2 hours by car or by bus. If one selects any other beach destination (Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, or Holguin), the only way to have a round trip to Havana in 1 day would be by plane.

 6. Describe your perfect day in Varadero.
I would spend the day with my family, going first to the dolphin aquarium, followed by a swim in the ocean. Afterwards, we’d eat grilled fish and we’d end the day by taking jet ski rides.

 7. What local dish do you recommend and where is the best place to try it?
The best dish you can try in Varadero is lobster at Varadero 60.

 8. Where is your favorite spot to watch the sunset?
Any beach in Varadero is good for watching the sunset, but at Mansion Xanadu Terrace, it is unbelievable.

 9. Could you please teach us a few local expressions?

  • Una cerveza por favor. One beer please.
  • Cuanto cuesta ir hasta _________? How much is it to go to…?
  • Podria decirme donde se encuentra_________? Could you tell me where I can find…?

10. In your opinion, what is a must-do in Varadero?
Visitors should not miss the chance to enjoy a concert by Buena Vista Social Club. They perform once a week and it’s a unique opportunity to hear traditional Cuban music played by the absolute best.

 11. In your opinion, what is the best beach and why?
In my opinion, the best beach spot stretches from the Barcelo Solymar resort to the Sol Sirenas Coral hotel. The beach dune, here, is the biggest and the cleanest of all the peninsula. No rocks on the beach are seen in this area.

 12. Any tips for first-time travelers to Cuba?
Cuba is the safest destination in the Caribbean, but valuables still should not be taken outside unnecessarily. Don’t leave the hotel without bottled water, sun block and toilet paper. Do not rent scooters that are not covered by insurance and if possible, don’t rent a car if you don’t know the area since we have a shortage of signs and roads are not in the best condition.

25 Jul

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Nicole at the Spa

July 25, 2016 | By |

Nicole Simeone Volk manages all the IBEROSTAR spas in the Dominican Republic. She has devoted her life to creating the perfect spa experience and takes us into her world of healing hands and soothing spirits at Spa Sensations.

What is your personal spa philosophy?

I want to create a balance between body and mind for better wellbeing in everyday life.

What do you hope guests will take away from their experience?

An outstanding memory of their treatment at Spa Sensations which will help them to continue treatments at home and to come visit us again on their next vacation.

Are there signature treatments at each Grand Collection resort?

Every destination is different and although our Grand Collection brand is very consistent in quality and service, our guests do have local preferences. At IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso, the Mayan Sensation Massage includes the use of ancestral, ocarina music and volcanic stones. The Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Sugar Scrub is the one to try at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall. And at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Bávaro, the most popular is the Caribbean Ritual, a milk bath, body exfoliation, massage and honey mask.

Do you have a favourite treatment?

I love the Voyage to the East. It’s a deep massage inspired by ancient Indian principles for healing the body.

What’s the most appealing feature of the new Spa Sensations at IBEROSTAR Bávaro Complex?

The new pool area. I especially like to go from the Roman Bath at 28ºC to the Cold Well at 15ºC. It feels wonderful.

Do you have a recommendation for a first-time spa guest?

Try everything in one, the complete experience. The Spa Sensation Signature Massage offers a head massage, body massage and reflexology on the feet.

 

25 Jul

By

Star Resorts

July 25, 2016 | By |

From gourmet dining, personalized butler service and spectacular suites complete with pillow menu and free rounds of golf, everything here is created to spoil and pamper like never before.

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall
Montego Bay, Jamaica

This adults-only, 5-star, Jamaican paradise is all about never-ending service and endless luxuries. The Colonial-style architecture offers a stunning atmosphere designed for maximum comfort and pleasure.

  • AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort
  • Intimate boutique hotel flare
  • Just 20 minutes from Montego Bay airport
  • Many oceanview rooms thanks to the resort’s unique u-shaped design

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Bávaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Located on the stunning Bávaro Beach just 30 minutes from the Punta Cana airport, you’ll find this exclusive resort filled with every pleasure imaginable.

  • World-class, two-storey, oceanfront spa
  • Sweeping, on-site golf course designed by P.B. Dye
  • Greco-Roman-inspired architecture for timeless grace and style
  • Access to all 3 IBEROSTAR sister properties and their amenities, located in the Bávaro Beach Complex

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso
Riviera Maya, Mexico

No expense was spared in creating this all-inclusive, all-suites playground reserved exclusively for adults. Stunning architecture, three unique pools, and worlds of flavours await those fortunate enough to find themselves here.

  • AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort
  • 18-hole golf course on site designed by P.B. Dye
  • Elegant and engaging Neo-Renaissance-style architecture
  • Secluded villas ideally designed for honeymooners

25 Jul

By

The Grand Collection

July 25, 2016 | By |

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts delivers an unsurpassed vacation experience with their exclusive Grand Collection.

Escape completely to a world of refined gourmet dining, exquisite suites, luxurious spa treatments and championship golf. Indulge in impeccable service surrounded by graceful architecture and luxurious state-of-the-art facilities.

It’s all waiting for you at these exceptional adults-only resorts on the best beaches in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. And with non-stop flights aboard Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge, your getaway starts the minute you’re onboard.

05 Jul

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Meet Katerina – ACV Varadero Rep

July 5, 2016 | By |

Get the skinny on Varadero from someone who knows it best – our on-site destination rep, Katerina!

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1. Name
Katerina

2. How long have you been an ACV destination rep?
Since December 2014.

3. What does your role involve?
Be available to try and help the customer in whatever they might need. Give information briefings, provide assistance and offer tour info.

4. What do you love most about your job?
Meeting and helping different people every day.

5. Describe Varadero in 3 words.
Relax, safe and fun.

6. What is a surprising fact about Varadero?
16 km of white sand and amazing blue water.

7. What local dish do you recommend and where is the best place to try it?
Grilled lobster at Varadero ’60.

8. Where is your favourite spot to watch the sunset?
At the Varadero Golf Club.

9. What is a must-do?
The Crucero del Sol excursion – it’s a full day trip by catamaran with open bar, seafood for lunch, dolphin encounters, snorkelling, and a visit to the beautiful island Cayo Blanco.

10. Where is the best beach?
Downtown, by the Barcelo Solymar hotel and near the Aguas Azules resort. Those are places where you can find really white sand and large beach areas.