Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

all-inclusive Archives - Air Canada Vacations

10 Dec

By

5 Things to Know Before Visiting Hotel Xcaret Mexico

December 10, 2018 | By |

Our favourite way to travel is by enjoying the natural surroundings and local culture, which we don’t often get to experience at resorts. Last month, we visited Hotel Xcaret Mexico with Air Canada Vacations and had an amazing taco-fuelled experience. It honestly changed the way we look at vacations as it has both of our favourite travel qualities and more. It immerses you in a world of adventure, Mexican culture, and all-inclusive fun!

Looking back, we wish someone had told us these tips before visiting, which is why we’re sharing them with you! The following are suggestions on things you can do, see, and eat around the hotel. This is what you need to know before you visit Hotel Xcaret Mexico.

Take Time to Explore the Property (Pick up a Map)

Bridge at Hotel Xcaret - Air Canada Vacations

The property is truly a park in itself with jungles, a winding river with coves and inlets, and tropical surprises around every corner. To maximize your time, it’s best to plan so you can cover the highlights during your stay. Our favourites included sunrise at the Catholic chapel, kayaking the river, discovering waterslides, and walking along the jungle paths.

chapel at hotel xcaret - air canada vacations

 

 

river shot - air canada vacaitons - Hotel XcaretFor an authentic beach experience, take the far-east suspension bridge from the chapel, over the lagoon, on your way to the beach hammocks. Unlike the other side of the beach, which can be rocky, this side is semi-private, quiet, and gorgeous!

Hote Xcaret Beach - Air Canada Vacations

Ask for a map once you arrive at the hotel, you’ll find it helpful to reference later during your trip. I found the map most useful for finding where each photo station was around the property.

The Magical Wristband

From the moment we got our wristbands, we knew we were going to love them! They allow you to take pictures of yourself at photo stations around the hotel and all parks. You can find each “Xelfie” photo station by using the hotel map.

You’ll get optimal camera angles without the hassle of carrying around bulky cameras or having to attempt your best photography skills. Simply tap your wristband on the photo circle, look towards the colourful “Xcaret Eye,” and say CHEESE! You can purchase the digital photo packages at the end of your visit for a reasonable price (starting at $58.99 for all photos of 2 people at both the hotel and 1 park).

Hotel Xcaret wristbands

Stop digging through your pockets and beach bag looking for your dreaded room key.  That won’t happen at Hotel Xcaret Mexico as your wristband serves multiple purposes, including being your room key.

It’s also waterproof and has an adjustable strap, which allows you to take it off when you need to. I appreciated this feature while I showered and slept, much more comfortable if you ask me!

All-Fun Inclusive®

What is All-Fun Inclusive®? Not only are your accommodations, drinks, and food included, but so are your excursions! Hotel Xcaret Mexico goes beyond the traditional all-inclusive resort and includes all 9 of their parks and tours in your stay. That means you could visit a different park a day for a week and still not have visited them all!

Xcaret park

This also includes your shuttles to and from all parks, with rides leaving every 20 minutes from the hotel lobby. Walk a few hundred metres east from the lobby and keep your eye out for the big pink Xcaret bus.

Hotel Xcaret bus tour

Xcaret Park

We visited the emblematic Xcaret Park which has over 50 different attractions to choose from. It’s a park that renews the spirit of Mexican culture and folklore through food, exhibitions, and celebration.

Grab an Xcaret passport to keep track of where you’ve visited and try to explore them all! There are 37 different “Xelfie” stations here and we hardly got through them during our visit. Remember to use the coloured lines on the pavement to guide you through each area.

Hotel Xcaret park

Xenses Park

Prepare to have your senses come alive as the Xenses Park is filled with optical illusions and fantastic Instagram opportunities.  This is the only half-day park available and you can’t miss it!

Xenses pinwheel

Thoughtfully designed, you immediately enter into the pinwheel room that’s a sensory celebration of rainbow colours. There are two circuits of activity from here and over 50 mind-blowing attractions, games, and sensory scenarios to cover. Our favourites included the town where you didn’t know up from down, and the Xitric garden where you could drink lemonade directly from a tree!

Everything’s Included

Hotel Xcaret Mexico is a one-stop shop for a complete vacation experience. When you book with Air Canada Vacations, it includes your flight, hotel accommodation, all transfers and 1 free checked bag per person. Your package even includes your meals at each park, plus a beer at Xcaret Park, and both tequila and beer at Xoximilco Park.

The All-Fun Inclusive® perks don’t end at the parks, as you’ll also enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, tennis, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling, and access to the kids & family club during your stay.

The Food at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

There are ten restaurants, eight bars, and a room service menu that we didn’t even scratch the surface of. We’ve become passionate lovers of local foods since visiting Mexico several times over the past few years. So it’s no surprise that we loved the authentic flavours of the Mexican buffet, Mercado de la Merced. Most mornings, you’d find us here filling our plates with salsa verde, succulent chicken and beef tacos, and sipping on rich Mexican coffee.

For lunch, we loved the carefree vibe of Las Playas, near the main pool and directly in front of the lagoon. There are beautiful swings to sip your cocktail on and tables in the sand so you can sink your toes in and truly relax. Each dish we enjoyed here was an elevated version of a classic and we enjoyed it so much that we came back every day to try something new on the menu.

Food at hotel xcaret

 

The only problem we had during our stay was trying to choose what to eat for dinner. Our most noteworthy meals were the Teppanyaki table at Xin-Gao, the dinner and show in the theatre, and a special dinner at Ha’ restaurant.

Food Tips

Shadi was elated to discover the taco stand that was set-up in front of the main buffet each evening. You’d often see a line-up in front of this famous cart, which also included fresh cilantro and lime. There are no frills here, just authentic, generous flavours. We had a second dinner at this stand on the regular, they were addictive!

Another great find was the fruit stand that’s set up in the archway in front of the main pool. With so many fresh options at my convenience, I made it my goal to try a new fruit here each day.

Hotel Xcaret fruit stand

We walked by Cantina Los Faroles a few times but never had the chance to try their menu. We did, however, return after 11 p.m. to enjoy the nightlife and lantern light show around the bar.

Hotel-Xcaret-Resort-lanterns

Needless to say, we think you should add these restaurants to your culinary bucket list at Hotel Xcaret Mexico.

Sustainability & Mexican Culture

Everything at Hotel Xcaret Mexico is made with sustainability and the preservation of Mexican culture in mind. All elements of the resort are acquired through fair trade and are locally sourced. Many of the items around the hotel are also handmade, such as the handcrafted pillows, tiles, and hammocks.

The Rooms at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

As sustainability is a focus of the hotel, many things in the hotel are made from sustainable materials, such as the pillows, duvets, and coffee pods. The coffee pods are biodegradable and actually made of corn! My favourite feature of our room was that all of the amenities were eco-friendly. The materials are locally sourced AND good for the environment. The grape lotion smelled and felt amazing and I want to buy it by the tub!

From the hotel’s eco-integrative design to their contributions to the local economy, Hotel Xcaret Mexico constantly demonstrates its promise to practice sustainable tourism.

Bonus! Book with Air Canada Vacations

As Air Canada Vacations ambassadors, we travel with them often. What we love the most about booking our vacations with them is that we literally don’t have to stress about any travel details.  Air Canada Vacations takes care of everything from the flights, hotel, and even transfers at destination.

They’ve been around for over 35 years, so you’ve got peace of mind.  You also don’t have to pay for your first checked bag when you book a package with Air Canada Vacations (which we really appreciate). Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge fly to more than 40 destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, which is more than any other Canadian tour operator (which is amazing!).

Hotel Xcaret

What’s Next

The only thing left to do is decide when you’ll be going.  With flights leaving daily to Cancún from Toronto on Air Canada Rouge, and twice daily during winter, the time is now to pack your bags and escape the Canadian cold.

This blog post was written by The Vacation Couple, ambassadors for Air Canada Vacations. See what the Vacation Couple has been up to.

 

05 Dec

By

Top 3 Excursions in Jamaica

December 5, 2018 | By |

ADVENTURE ALWAYS AWAITS IN JAMAICA. ALWAYS.

Pristine beaches and secluded escapes aren’t the only ways to fill one’s days in Jamrock. Culturally rich and mesmerizingly beautiful, Jamaica is a preferred playground because fun is just as easy to find outside the comfy confines of a Sandals Resort, if you know where to look…

Black River, Ys Falls & Appleton Estate Rum Tour

Crossing paths with a crocodile or a chestnut-bellied cuckoo is par for the course while you drift down the Black River, a long, lazy waterway flanked on both sides by dense and vibrant tropical vegetation. Unspoiled and spectacular, the river run gives way to the natural wonder of YS Falls, spilling seven waterfalls into tranquil pools all seductively girded by lush forest. After that, it’s on to a luscious lunch and a tour of the world-renowned Appleton Estate — where welcome samplings of some of the very finest rum ever aged is assured.

Island Routes Reggae Sunset catamaran cruise

Experience the magic of the MoBay coastline from the casual comfort of the Island Routes Reggae Sunset Cruiseliner. You’ll even have time to stop in Margaritaville, literally! Made famous by Jimmy Buffet’s hit, this liquid locale comes complete with water trampolines, floating obstacle courses, and a 12-story waterslide designed to drop you right into the Caribbean drink. Dry off back aboard with DJ-spun music and savoury snacks as the setting sun disappears over the ocean horizon.

MINI routes

Jamaica ToursTake the wheel of a MINI Cooper for some mega fun with a local guide: your backseat chaperone will show you all the hidden gems of Jamaica. Pit stops for traditional island snacks, both sweet and savoury, between quick scenic road trips taking you from markets and monuments to expansive beaches and refreshing waterfalls, slots this Island Routes adventure high on every traveller’s to-do list. Buckle in to see, taste and touch all the authentic stuff that puts the Rock on the map.

Jet to Jamaica

05 Dec

By

Sandals: the Top Caribbean Resort

December 5, 2018 | By |

HOT WHITE SAND. COOL BLUE SEA. BIG GREEN HEART.

Jamaica Sandals

Ever the iconic getaway for lovers—and the reason Jamaica’s been burned into the mind of every wanderer as a coveted paradise—Sandals truly has no equal.

Consistent culinary excellence through their 5-Star Global Gourmet™ program; singular Over-the-Water resort design merging ocean bliss with architectural beauty; and a generous spirit exemplified by their Stay at One-Play at Six resort policy—Sandals has emerged as a hallowed holiday hideaway.

Recognizing that cocktails don’t have to be toxic for Mother Earth, Sandals was the first all-inclusive to pair up with Oceanic Global and commit to skipping plastic straws to save the sea. The mindful mega-brand is also part of the scientifically rigorous EarthCheck program.

Unsurprisingly, they’ve been voted the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand for the 25th year in a row by the World Travel Awards. If their pristine properties are any indication, the next quarter century will shine just as bright for this 5-Star, beachfront hotel chain where fun and luxury are always included…

Sandals South Coast

ALL BEACHFRONT. ALL LUXURY. ALL ON JAMAICA’S SOUTH COAST.

Sandals South Coast

Want to get rocked to sleep by warm, salty sea breezes and an oceanic lullaby? Silly question. Sandals South Coast’s new Over-the-Water Bungalows are living monuments to the jaw-dropping, natural beauty of the Caribbean Sea; and they manage, almost magically, to soothe and restore any traveller who slumbers within. Once rested, you’ll be sprightly enough for a day-long playdate spent trading time with sun, sea and sand—this is Jamaica’s premier all-beachfront, all-oceanview resort.

Sandals  Montego Bay

A TRUE BEACHFRONT RESORT ON JAMAICA’S LARGEST EXCLUSIVE WHITE-SAND BEACH.

The flagship of escapist, adults-only fun and the first of its kind, Sandals MoBay pampers every Club and Butler guest right from the runway all the way to their reef-protected beachfront resort and back again with luxe BMW transportation. Once there, authentic Jamaican fare can be had seaside at the Jerk Shack, or if sipping above the waves is more your cup of relaxation, there’s the new Latitudes Overwater Bar. Ever evolving, more eateries and amenities are being added all the time. Those about to take the plunge would do well to keep the upcoming Over-the-Water Serenity Wedding Chapel in mind.

Sandals Ochi

TRENDY WHEN YOU WANT IT, PRIVATE WHEN YOU DON’T.

Switching between sun-dappled days and the quiet comfort of an oceanside cocktail club come nightfall is a cinch with a quick hop over to the Rabbit Hole, the Caribbean’s very first speakeasy bar. Just make sure you get the secret password before stepping into the past to tipple a little while watching live entertainment. Nestled in the heart of Ocho Rios’ rolling hills and flawless seascapes, it’s plain to see why this Sandals setting is the top honeymooners’ retreat of the Caribbean.

Sandals Royal Caribbean

BRITAIN TO BALI –  ADVENTURES IN JAMAICA.

Garnering top honours as Jamaica’s leading resort, the Royal Caribbean remains the very zenith of idyllic, tranquil isolation. How idyllic? Private island idyllic. Tucked away offshore on a secluded sandbar in Montego Bay, no desire goes unsatiated here. Of course, luxury private BMW transport service is also included for all Club and Butler guests. And yes, those dreamy Over-the-Water Bungalows and Villas live here too.

Sandals Negril

THE LONGEST AND BEST STRETCH  OF NEGRIL’S SEVEN MILE BEACH.

Sandals Negril

Arguably the coolest hot spot for  sun-hungry satisfaction seekers, Sandals Negril stacks stylish  two-story Villas against a breath-stealing backdrop of lush tropical forest right on the cusp of a 7-mile stretch of unparalleled powdery-white, turquoise-blue perfection. With sea mist making your wake-up calls and the ocean as your front yard, spend your down time lazing in a beach lounger or water skiing on the surf. Here, your days, like your nights, truly belong to you.

Sandals Royal Plantation

AN ALL BUTLER, ALL SUITE,  ALL OCEANVIEW BOUTIQUE RESORT.

This is where luxury truly lives. An exclusively small batch of ocean-facing, beachfront suites all serviced 24 hours a day with white-gloved care by attentive butlers. Grand, manicured gardens punctuated with roaming peacocks and the only champagne and caviar bar in Jamaica make this an opulent oasis like no other. Its ranking on Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Luxury Hotel list is well deserved. Oh, and the beaches have butlers here too, so a Caribbean cocktail while wavelets lap your toes isn’t out of the question.

Book Sandals Resorts

26 Jul

By

Top 6 Hotels in Barbados

July 26, 2018 | By |

Where to stay in Barbados

Sea Breeze Beach House

Sea Breeze Beach House Barbados
Tucked away on the southern coast, this newly renovated 4-star resort boasts two spectacular beaches, an adults-only Jacuzzi and a commitment to food culture that reinforces Barbados as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels

Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels Barbados

Focused on pampering families against a backdrop that is as elegant as it is exotic, Turtle Beach ensures fine, authentically Bajan fun, food and hospitality for all. It’s also part of our Spotlight Collection, so every stay comes with exclusive perks.

The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa

The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa

Be it by high tea in the afternoon, high-end dining in the numerous culinary amenities on site or highly soothing days in their signature Spa & Salon, The Club will leave you feeling rested and rejuvenated. This adults-only escape is also part of our Spotlight Collection.

Accra Beach Hotel

Accra Beach Hotel

Oceanfront rooms giving way to pristine, powdery beaches are a mainstay here — as is every other amenity you’ll ever need. Be sure to schedule a drink at dusk to enjoy their signature Sunset Bar as day gives way to night… then hit the lively Lagoon Pool Bar.

Port St. Charles

Priding themselves on luxury accommodations, Port St. Charles lets you experience Barbados like a local with access to every extravagance. Whether you need a water taxi for pickup, a stocked fridge for tomorrow’s brunch, restaurant reservations for tonight, or a fully catered dinner party at your villa — it’s all on offer here.

Sandals Royal Barbados

Sandals Royal Barbados

Offering 24-hour Butler Elite service, swim-up suites, and a roof top pool and bar overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this all-new, adults-only resort is tucked away in the famously lively St. Lawrence Gap of bountiful Barbados. You’ll have full access to incredible gourmet eateries, a wellness spa, unforgettable nightlife, and every luxurious amenity your mind can hope to summon.

28 Mar

By

Charming Curaçao

March 28, 2018 | By |

Explore the beauty of Curaçao, a blend of Dutch charm, Caribbean flair and Spanish heritage. Indulge in a culture, cuisine and lifestyle like no other. Home to golden beaches and crystal blue seas, it captivates visitors with hidden coves and intriguing underwater sites. Beautiful year-round weather and a sunny climate make for a perfect escape any time of year!

Our pick

Sunscape Curaçao Resort, Spa & Casino
This upscale resort has everything you need for family entertainment. It offers one of the largest and most visited casinos on the island, an in-house Dive Center, the Explorer’s Club for Kids and the Core Zone Teens Club. You can enhance your fun with a day trip to the National Underwater Park facing the resort or a trip to Willemstad, thanks to the resort’s complimentary shuttle service for guests.

28 Mar

By

Jammin’ Jamaica

March 28, 2018 | By |

Welcome to Jamaica, “the Home of All Right.” With so much to see in Montego Bay, you won’t know where to start! Take a stroll along the resort-lined beaches overlooking the beautiful bay. Set out to discover all that nature has to offer including plantations, verdant mountains and trickling waterfalls. And don’t forget to visit downtown Mo’ Bay for fine dining and the world-renowned reggae-splashed culture!

Resorts

Our pick

Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
Welcome to a child’s dream getaway! Youngsters can play all day at the Pirate’s Paradise Waterpark featuring a pirate ship and fort, 40-foot plank bridge, lazy river and two waterslides. That’s not all! The resort is surrounded by Montego Bay Marine Park, a fully underwater national park with snorkelling and protected swimming areas. Who are we kidding? This is fun for everyone!

28 Mar

By

Dazzling Dominican Republic

March 28, 2018 | By |

There’s no better place for rest and relaxation in the Dominican Republic than Punta Cana, offering turquoise waters along a panoramic stretch of white-sand beaches that are perfect for a peaceful getaway, destination wedding or honeymoon. Action-packed Puerto Plata will thrill you with windsurfing and kite surfing, and its historic town is a delight to explore.

Resorts

Our pick

Sunscape Puerto Plata Dominican Republic
Set on the stunning Playa Dorada beach and in a tropical jungle, this resort is surrounded by a signature Robert Trent Jones 18-hole golf course. Kids get celebrity treatment at check-in with red carpet stairs, welcome treats and a resort passport. Take an excursion to the enchanting 27 Damajagua Waterfalls, the island of Cayo Arena or atop a mountain by cable car for stunning views of Puerto Plata.

What’s Next

Plan an all-inclusive vacation to Dominican Republic thanks to our last-minute deals!

28 Mar

By

Magnificent Mexico

March 28, 2018 | By |

Discover Mexico’s gems. Ixtapa, a jewel along the Pacific coast, blends timeless charm with natural beauty, while Puerto Vallarta beckons with breathtaking views of the mountains and beaches around Banderas Bay. The inviting island of Cozumel boasts calm beaches, clear waters, natural beauty and historic sites. Or explore Cancun, the gateway to Mayan ruins and picturesque beaches, as well as an enticing and vibrant nightlife!

Resorts

Our pick

Sunscape Star Cancun
The newest addition to the Sunscape collection, this resort opens on December 1, 2018, with double the live entertainment, free WiFi, a surf pool and rooms and suites that all have an ocean view! With a Sun Club upgrade, guests 18 and over can enjoy the adults-only rooftop pool, while children spend their days at the Kids Explorer’s Club, and teens hang out at the Core Zone Teens Club.

28 Mar

By

Unlimited Fun® for the kid in everyone

March 28, 2018 | By |

Get ready to experience Unlimited-Fun® with Sunscape Resorts & Spas, where everything is included! Enjoy 24-hour access to food and drinks with kid-friendly options, a plethora of daily land and water activities, live music, local entertainment, and everything you need for the perfect family getaway! Join the Sun Club for upgraded rooms in premium locations, special treats, private lounge access, and so much more!

16 Mar

By

Sun, Sand & Solo Travel

March 16, 2018 | By |

It may take two to tango, but solo is the way to go! You might usually picture honeymooning couples and smiling families jetting off on dreamy all-inclusive vacations, but the tides are turning in favour of solo vacationers looking for sunny escapes of their own making. Aside from being the only star in your envy-inducing beach pictures, here’s what we love about going solo in the sun.

Beach? Pool? Wherever!

Forget lengthy arguments about where you should spend the day– you’re the boss of this vacay. Whether you prefer lounging by the pool or catching waves on the beach, your main dilemma will be choosing which book or magazine to bring with you. The best part? No one will be checking their watch and taking you away from your towel to eat or sleep. This trip’s ticking away on your time!

We love the ocean-front option at Dreams Delight Playa Bonita Panama, a great pick for a singles vacation. Surrounded by lush greenery, its idyllic beach even welcomes baby sea turtles from July to December, so you might not always be totally solo! Of course, they also have a gorgeous infinity pool if that’s more your vibe.

Choose your own adventure

Although we’re just fine with lying about in the sun all day, one of the joys of solo travel is being able to get up and go when you choose to. Many all-inclusive resorts offer tons of activities to keep you busy from sun-up to sun-down.

At Secrets Aura Cozumel in Mexico, you can discover the wonders waiting for you under the sea. The resort houses a fully-equipped dive centre where professionals teach you the essentials before you dive off their private pier. With the second largest barrier reef in the world located near Cozumel’s shores, you’re bound to spot colourful coral and unique marine life. If you’re more comfortable on land, the resort can help you plan trips to nearby attractions – from Chichen Itza to Tulum!

Pamper yourself!

Sometimes, a solo trip is the best way to completely unwind. It pulls you away from your day-to-day and lets you focus on you. Why not take this time to really treat yourself?  We’re thinking total spa treatment in a tropical location. Yes, please!

From seaweed wraps to Swedish massages, the Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa in Dominican Republic knows how to pamper you. You can pick from spa packages that include facials, full-body treatments and so much more.  The serene setting and complimentary fresh juices will keep bringing you back until you need to fly home, completely rejuvenated.

What’s next

If you’ve set your sights on a solo vacation, make sure to keep an eye out for all-inclusive resorts that don’t charge a single supplement. What’s a single supplement, you ask? It’s a fee charged by many hotels to solo travellers booking a room alone. The resorts mentioned here usually waive this fee for travel between August and December, but make sure to double-check before you book!

Go your own way!