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Alice Akka, Author at Air Canada Vacations

29 Jun

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3 Sunny Summer Escapes

June 29, 2015 | By |

Envisioning a summer escape that involves sun and sand? All you need are your sunglasses, sunscreen and swimsuit and you’re ready for a vacation down south (and the perfect tan). Here are 3 sunny escapes to consider for your summer vacation.

1) Diving Escape at Cozumel Palace – Mexico

Cozumel Palace Mexico

The island of Cozumel, just off the coast of Playa del Carmen, is an excellent place for a fun and relaxing getaway. The Cozumel Palace has the facilities, setting and staff to offer an unforgettable stay. Begin your escape with a spa treatment – we recommend the Pul Yah Ceremony, which will put your mind and body at ease for the remainder of your vacation. Next, get ready to explore the fascinating coral reefs surrounding the resort. You have 2 options: snorkelling for beginners or scuba diving for more seasoned divers.

The ecosystem on the coast of Cozumel is particularly beautiful, thanks to the mild Gulf Stream that allows for ideal diving conditions. The hardest part is choosing which reef to explore, because they are all different and stunning. Another advantage to staying at the Cozumel Palace is that you have access to all hotels in the hotel chain (6 to be exact)! You stay at one, but can enjoy the restaurants and amenities of all hotels within the resort. That’s excellent news if you’re planning a few leisurely strolls around the grounds.

2) Family Escape at IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach – Jamaica

Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Montego Bay

In addition to its superb setting overlooking a sandy beach in Montego Bay, the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach offers lots of opportunities for family fun with its wide-ranging facilities for all ages. The little ones can play at the kids club, a hub for adventure. Meanwhile, parents can have peace of mind knowing that activities are supervised by certified animators. Relaxing at the spa or on a lounge chair by the pool or beach are all the more reason to unwind.

For those who prefer to maximize their time with the little ones, there is no shortage of activities to be had as a family: among options are catamaran cruises, tennis, kayaking and dance classes for those who have rhythm (and even for those who don’t). The best part about this resort? Kids stay and eat free.

3) Warm Escape at Breezes Varadero – Cuba

Breezes Varadero

Cuba is largely known for its friendly locals and joie de vivre. And Varadero is no exception, especially at the Breezes Varadero. From the reception staff and animators, to the waiters and management, the staff is excellent. Helpful and friendly, hotel employees flash you a smile at any time of day. Speaking of smiles, we bet you’ll also have one ear to ear when you savour a dish at El Mojito, one of the hotel’s restaurants. Named after the iconic Cuban cocktail, this restaurant showcases typical Cuban flavours.

One of the highlights of this hotel is the beach. Though all beaches in Cuba are breathtaking, this one is particularly stunning with its pristine, white sand and clear water with hints of turquoise and deep blue fading into the horizon. And the wooden huts only add to the charm of the beach. For those who would rather take a nap in the shade, there are several hammocks around the property – now, that’s what we call a proper escape.

 

Tempting, isn’t it? You can probably already picture yourself on the beach, cocktail in hand. What are you waiting for? Escape to sun and sand! Make sure to also check out our last-minute deals – you won’t want to miss these!

 

12 Jun

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Where to Have the Best Cocktails in Cuba This Summer

June 12, 2015 | By |

Cuba is largely known for its beautiful beaches, culture, history, cigars and Che Guevara, but also – for its cocktails! Cuban cocktails often bring to mind thoughts of vacation, the beach and fun in the sun. And we’ll let you in on a little secret: the best Cuban cocktails can be found in none other than… Cuba. Let’s take a look at where to have the best cocktails in Cuba this summer:

1) A mojito at Valentin Perla Blanca – Cayo Santa Maria

What sounds better than sipping the most famous Cuban cocktail on a beach in Cayo Santa Maria (near Santa Clara)? If interested, we recommend stopping by Valentin Perla Blanca, a chic, adults-only hotel that has no less than 10 bars, one of which is a mojito bar. This refreshing cocktail made of rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and mint goes down smoothly and comes in different variations for different tastes. This is definitely the place to savour the perfect mojito against a tropical backdrop.

2) A Presidente at IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul – Varadero

The Presidente gained its popularity during the Prohibition of the United States of the 1920s, and was named in honour of the Cuban president of the time. The drink may vary from bar to bar, but the main ingredients remain the same: dark rum, curaçao, white vermouth and a dash of grenadine. In Varadero, and specifically at the IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul, the Presidente is delightful – a must while watching the hotel’s evening entertainment. The hotel also features a cigar bar. A Presidente and cigars  now that’s Cuba.

3) A daiquiri at Melia Las Dunas – Santa Clara

Ernest Hemingway’s favourite cocktail knows many variations, but the original (made of rum, maraschino liqueur, cane sugar, lime juice and crushed ice) can be sampled at Melia Las Dunas, preferably while you dip your feet in the pool to cool off from the hot Santa Clara sun. To make the most of your stay, try simmering down with one of these cocktails after a tai chi class by the pool. If you’re not into tai chi, you can opt for snorkelling, windsurfing or kayaking. Relaxation and fun guaranteed!

4) A Ron Collins at TRYP Cayo Coco – Cayo Coco

If you want to taste a really good Ron Collins, the Cuban version of the American Tom Collins, head to TRYP Cayo Coco. This cocktail, made of rum, sugar, lime-flavoured soda water and ice, pairs perfectly with lobster and shrimp at the hotel’s seafood restaurant. One of the many advantages of this hotel is that it allows you access to its sister hotels in Cayo Coco: the Sol Cayo Coco and the Sol Cayo Guillermo. You stay at 1, but play at 3! That gives you three times the opportunity to try a Ron Collins.

5) A Cuba Libre at Blau Costa Verde – Holguin

When you think about Holguin, you probably think about its white sand beaches. But Holguin is also a warm city where you can enjoy Cuban music, food and the overall lifestyle. If you’re staying at Blau Costa Verde, you’ll have access to their nightclub, which offers unlimited drinks until 2:00 a.m. It’s your chance to sample a delicious Cuba Libre (rum and cola, garnished with a lemon wedge) the drink got its name in 1902 when the country was freed from its Spanish colonial rule.

 

Ready to tantalize your taste buds with these Cuban cocktails? Don’t put off your Cuba vacation any longer – start planning today! And if you’re really in a hurry to sit back on a lounge chair on the beach, cocktail in hand, take a look at our last-minute deals for some awesome prices.

 

27 Apr

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3 Reasons You Must Visit Saint Lucia

April 27, 2015 | By |

Think Saint Lucia and you will likely think magnificent beaches, hot Caribbean sun and lush vegetation. But beyond its idyllic surroundings, this iconic island in the Windward Islands has many other wonders to offer. Here are 3 reasons you must visit Saint Lucia.

Reason #1 – Recharge your batteries at a luxury hotel

Cap Maison Resort and Spa

Cap Maison Resort and Spa

Saint Lucia is like paradise on earth and the hotels located here have understood this well. You can choose from several luxury hotels that offer a range of services that favour rest and relaxation.

 

 

In St. Lucia, the combination of beautiful scenery and fantastic service make for a stay centred around your well-being. If you’re looking for an impressive spa, stay at Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa, which features the 11,000 square-foot oceanfront Kai Mer Spa. If you’re envisioning a relaxing, adults-only atmosphere with perks like 24-hour room service and butler service, an obvious choice is the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort. Finally, if you’re in search of a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea, opt for a stay at Cap Maison Resort & Spa.

Reason #2 – Awaken your senses by exploring the island

Saint Lucia Pitons

Saint Lucia has an exciting world for you to discover: climb to the top of Gros Piton mountain, walk through the island’s rainforests to uncover flora that you never even knew existed, stroll through the Morne Coubaril plantation to see its beautiful fruit trees, plunge into Rodney Bay’s coral reef system or take a walk along Soufrière Beach at sunset. There are so many things to do in Saint Lucia, so much biodiversity to take in, different paths to explore and natural wonders to admire. Stretch your legs and awaken your senses with one of the many activities in Saint Lucia.

For a truly unforgettable sensorial experience, why not add horseback riding to your itinerary? You have different options too: gallop along a beautiful beach with the ocean as your backdrop and your hair blowing in the wind, or trot though a lush green forest to see the world as though with a new set of eyes as you travel on horseback. Some equestrian centres even offer the possibility to go horseback riding through the water. A guaranteed magical experience!

Reason #3 – Celebrate and have a good time

Saint Lucia drink

Experiencing the culture and traditions of Saint Lucia is a must when you stay on this island. The locals are exceptionally inviting and to them, any occasion is a good occasion to party. This is why everyone ends up dancing and celebrating in the streets every Friday during Friday Night Jump Street Parties. This weekly event is designed to sample the local flavour: its music, food, dancing and good vibes. In the streets of Saint Lucia, the joie de vivre is absolutely contagious!

If you plan to visit the island soon (and we really hope you do), check out the Jazz & Arts Festival, a must-see cultural event which takes place from April 30 to May 10. Otherwise, head over to the Saint Lucia Carnival between June 1 to July 21 to dance to calypso beats, witness amazing costume parades and experience one of the hottest parties in the Caribbean.

 

We warned you: these are 3 reasons you cannot pass up. For more information, visit our Saint Lucia travel page. If you’re already wondering where to stay, the answer is right this way: Hotels in Saint Lucia.

10 Feb

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5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Romantic Getaway

February 10, 2015 | By |

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not surprise your other half with a vacation, something that will allow you to truly connect and rekindle the romance in your relationship? Not a bad idea, right? However, it’s not always easy to plan a vacation that meets both of your romantic needs. That’s why we’ve made a list of the 5 key ingredients that make for the perfect romantic getaway.

1) Head somewhere sunny

Sunny Vacation

As you are probably aware, Canadian winters can feel particularly long. The best tip we can give you is to escape the cold, snowy weather and head somewhere sunny with your partner. Some of the best sunny destinations are in Mexico and the Caribbean due to their postcard-perfect landscapes –turquoise water and white sand beaches– and the fact that you’ll leave with a sun-kissed glow. What can we say, love is even brighter in the sun.

2) Stay at an adults-only hotel

Adults-only vacation

For a romantic retreat, there’s nothing better than being in a kid-free environment (as much as we appreciate their high energy). To do this, choose an adults-only hotel, so that you can enjoy a relaxing vacation at your own pace. Imagine sitting poolside, without any major noise or distractions, or having just the intimate setting you need to lounge side by side with your partner by the sea.

3) Choose a hotel with a spa

Spa Vacation

For couples-only vacations, one of the sweetest things is to go to a hotel with a spa. Book a massage for two to unwind and take advantage of a special moment with your special someone. Several resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean also offer massages on the beach, as well as thermal baths. Let a professional take care of you and your loved one, while you experience a sensorial journey. It’s the best way to awaken your senses and leave the excess baggage you may have brought with you behind!

4) Opt for luxury services

Luxury Vacation

Is there nothing too good for your sweetheart? Try a luxury vacation, frills and all. When was the last time you treated yourselves to a lavish retreat, anyway? Take some time to spoil yourselves. In sun destinations, there is no shortage of luxury hotels that offer personalized service. Dive head first into a world where hotel staff will be at your service to meet any of your needs. To fully maximize each moment of your luxurious romantic getaway, opt for a room with direct pool access, butler service, a hot tub and room service.

5) Treat yourself to a romantic dinner for two

Romantic dinner for two

Hedonism is an integral part of a romantic getaway, and what better way to seek pleasure than to wine and dine with your honey? No romantic escape would be complete without the quintessential dinner for two. Make sure to choose a hotel with restaurants that your partner will enjoy – most all-inclusives in Mexico and the Caribbean offer a variety of à la carte restaurants that range from French fare to classic Italian. You'll also want to make reservations in advance. To up the ante, dine al fresco on a terrace at sunset. There’s a reason why they say food is the key to the heart…

 

To plan your perfect romantic getaway, start browsing our destinations and hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean today. And one last piece of advice: Valentine’s Day may seem like the ideal occasion for a couples-only getaway, but really you can plan this kind of vacation any day 😉

03 Feb

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Top 5 Family-Friendly Hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean

February 3, 2015 | By |

It’s not always easy to plan a family vacation – you have to consider everyone’s individual wish list and try to stay within budget. Turns out we’ve found the secret to successful family vacation planning: choosing the right hotel! Here are our top 5 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean that will make your family vacation in the sun an absolutely memorable one.

1) Melia Nassau Beach Resort – Nassau, Bahamas

Melia Nassau Beach Resort

This hotel has all the right ingredients for a successful family vacation. Considering its proximity to the airport, you’ll be able to dodge the age-old ‘Are we there yet?’ question from your kids. Once at the resort, they will likely not be disappointed, and neither will you. At Melia Nassau Beach Resort, everything is in order so that your kids can have fun while you relax in the sun. The on-site kid’s club is typically open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and offers activities that vary daily. From games and sports to arts and crafts, there’s something for everyone.

2) Now Jade Riviera Cancun – Cancun, Mexico

Now Jade Riviera Cancun

This resort is a paradise for kids. And parents too. At Now Jade Riviera Cancun, kids stay free. That’s right, free. Between August and December 2015, kids under 12 years old stay and eat free. Plus, your little ones can keep busy at the Explorer Club, which offers activities like sandcastle-making contests and an ocean trampoline. And they will be in good hands with the club’s animators, who have first aid training and are Red Cross certified. The club is open until 10:00 p.m., which gives Mom and Dad an opportunity for a romantic dinner for 2, if they so desire.

3) Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa

The family suites at Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa are perfect for a family vacation. Upon your arrival in this spacious suite, you will receive a welcome basket of candy. Everything here is designed for your wellbeing: bathrobes and slippers for the grown-ups and little ones, kid-friendly bath products and a minibar that is stocked daily with drinks for the whole family. Prices for kids are attractive and the hotel is home to the ever-entertaining Bahia Scout Club House. The icing on the cake? The hotel has its own kid-friendly water park too!

4) Sol Rio de Luna y Mares – Holguin, Cuba

Sol Rio de Lunas y Mares

This hotel is a family-friendly gem in Cuba. The beach is breathtakingly beautiful, the food is exquisite, kids stay and eat free between April and December 2015, and the staff aims to make your stay memorable. The resort makes you feel at home, while offering an element of fun, relaxation and sun. Your kids can take part in Spanish classes, dance lessons and eco-adventures. In the evening, the hotel’s shows appeal to young and old. Thanks to a professional team that caters to the needs of your entire family, vacationing is pretty sweet at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares.

5) Punta Leona Hotel & Club – San José, Costa Rica

Punta Leona Hotel & Club

The Punta Leona Hotel & Club is ideal for adventurous families who love nature and new experiences. Children under 5 years old stay free at this property. The hotel is located in a 740-acre forest reserve, which is an excellent area to observe numerous bird species such as the scarlet macaw and the spotted sandpiper. You may also encounter white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys and sloths. Hiking trails of various difficulty levels are also available and can be chosen depending on the age of your children. This hotel in the heart of nature will astound both young and old.

 

So where will your next family vacation be? A little easier to choose now, hopefully? To book, or to browse more of these types of hotels, check out our Family vacation page.