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Travel Bug, Author at Air Canada Vacations - Page 3 of 6

24 Feb


Welcome to Sandals Discovery Dining

February 24, 2014 | By |

Accomplished Austrian chef Josef Jungwirth began his award-winning career at the age of 15. He now brings inspired culinary cuisine to your table as Sandals Resorts' Corporate Executive Chef.

How did your upbringing influence the food you prepare today?

I had a very humble upbringing on a small farm in Europe where we produced most of our meats, milk, fruits and vegetables. Consequently, today I have a deep respect for the food I prepare.

What takes a meal from good to great?

Meticulous attention and creative meal planning are key factors to creating delicious fare. Meals should include fresh, seasonal and premium quality ingredients. Add to that passion and perfect execution and the result is an unforgettable dish.

What exactly is Discovery Dining?

Discovery Dining is the culinary program offered at all Sandals Resorts, delighting guests with authentic flavours from around the world. Our guests are encouraged to be adventurous and try something new from countries like France, Japan or the Bahamas.

What is your favourite specialty from the Bahamas?

Conch salad, prepared right in front of you – so fresh, light and crisp; there's nothing like it. And it's even better when enjoyed along a pristine beach.

How does La Parisienne, Sandals Emerald Bay's upscale French restaurant, compare to a true Parisian experience?

La Parisienne provides authentic culinary savoir-faire with a modern twist. Its stylish and luxurious French décor are complemented by Sandals' renowned white-glove service, enhancing its romantic appeal. Try the signature Brandy Truffle cocktail – it's spectacular!

What's next?

Sandals LaSource Grenada recently introduced a steakhouse, Butch's Chophouse, and our guests love it. We‘ll be opening an Indian bistro at Sandals Barbados and are also working on a new concept for Beaches Turks & Caicos called Cornbread, which will feature American home-style cuisine.

18 Feb


Your trip to Jamaica

February 18, 2014 | By |

Jamaica has something for everyone, be it adventure, action or relaxation. In Negril, be amazed by the beauty of the seven-mile beach. In Ocho Rios, explore the lush tropical rainforest. And in Montego Bay, sample delicious food and drink in the charming town centre.

Fast facts

Language: English is the official language. Jamaican Patois is mainly spoken.

Electricity: 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)

Currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD). The US dollar is also generally accepted.

Famous Landmark: Dunn's River Falls, a beautiful and awe-inspiring waterfall near Ocho Rios.

To do list

Appleton Estate Rum Tour


Tour the famous Appleton Estate and Rum Factory, in continuous operation since 1749 and still using many of the traditional techniques and processes. Tastings of this out-of-this-world rum are included.

Bob Marley Jeep Safari

Ocho Rios

Enjoy a scenic drive to the quaint village of Nine Mile. Tour Bob Marley's childhood home accompanied by a Rastafarian guide. See the mausoleum where he was laid to rest.

Dunn's River Falls Cruise

Ocho Rios

Experience an unforgettable day of fun and sun aboard Cool Runnings, a 75-foot catamaran. Cruise to a crystal cove for swimming or snorkelling, then dock at the magnificent Dunn's River Falls.

Negril Shopping and Rick's Café


Visit Time Square in Negril to find unique arts and crafts, duty-free jewellery and much more. Stop at Rick's Café for drinks and snacks, glorious sunsets and spectacular views.

Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour

Ocho Rios

Take a leisurely bike ride through the lush tropical rainforest, home to hundreds of species of birds. See the world-famous Blu Mountain coffee farms and enjoy an exhilarating dip at a waterfall.

Did you know?

  • Ian Fleming, creator of the character James Bond 007, had a home in St. Mary, Jamaica, which he dubbed Goldeneye.
  • Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the Winter Olympics.
  • Jamaica is home to the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt.
  • Jamaica is the birthplace of Rastafarianism, an Afro-Caribbean religious and political movement, based on the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Jamaica's first national hero.

10 Feb


Romantic vacations – our employees tell all!

February 10, 2014 | By |

The Royal Playa del CarmenThe Royal Playa del Carmen is definitely a resort for couples and honeymooners. Romance starts at the beginning, when they ask you to choose the atmosphere you want to have in your room. There are candles, flowers and wine every night in your room before dinner and when you come back from the restaurant, the jacuzzi with oil massage are ready.

– Marie-Andrée, Marketing Coordinator

El Dorado Casitas RoyaleWhen I think of hot romantic destinations, Karisma's Eldorado Casitas Royale comes top of mind! Adults-only, Gourmet Inclusive, this resort provides the perfect combination of intimacy, modern coziness, friendly service, fine food & wines! Guests are likely to hang in their private pools, so the beach can belong to you. For extra kicks, take a private cooking class, go for a jog around the resort or dance the night away in Playa del Carmen!

– Claudine, Marketing Strategy Manager

The Secrets The Vine is my recommendation to all couples that are looking for a luxurious resort in Cancun. The food is delicious, the wine is delectable, the service is impeccable, and the resort itself is absolutely gorgeous.

– Marie-France, Marketing Project Manager

My most romantic escapade was at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. After dinner overlooking Lake Louise, we took a walk into the forest on snowshoes to an igloo, where we got engaged under the stars.

– Bryn, Copywriter

Excellence Playa MujeresWhen I was five months pregnant with my son, we stayed for one week at the adults-only Excellence Playa Mujeres in Cancun. The place was beautiful! They had beds on the sand facing the beach which was very romantic and at night the resort had candles outside the lounge. We also had royal concierge service which made it very romantic. They included champagne in the room with fruits and chocolate. Plus everyday, they kept filling the jacuzzi with rose petals and beautiful scents. It was just perfect! The service was amazing, they would do everything just to make sure I got the ice cream I wanted.

– Mariana, Inside Sales Coordinator

One of my most romantic vacations was at the Fairmont Southampton Princess in Bermuda. I still clearly recall the relaxing evenings on the balcony sipping champagne while the sun was setting and then waking up to breakfast in bed in a room fit for royalty. The room was stunning, luxurious mahogany furniture and the ultra cozy bed, we simply did not want to leave our room! After two days, we decided to get out and explore the island. We rented mopeds and rode along the coast to a private beach cove. The sand was soft and pink, the water warm and turquoise and the best of all, we were alone…

– Anonymous romantic

Want to share your own best romantic vacation memories? Sound off below!

01 Feb


Things to know about Riviera Maya

February 1, 2014 | By |

Brighter GETAWAYS Riviera Maya

Fun facts and popular activities for you to think about while you’re planning your trip to Riviera Maya.

What to experience at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Step into Heaven

A resort within the resort exclusive to adult guests, Heaven elevates the spirit of Rock & Roll to all new levels with luxuriously appointed rooms and lush style.

The Legendary Rock Spa®

Exclusive and exuberant, the 55,154 square foot Rock Spa® offers a personal paradise with 75 treatments rooms, a yoga temple, and a revitalizing Temascal experience.

Epic Eats

Experiential dining at nine world-class restaurants, like Asian fusion at Zen, decadent steak at Toro, snacks by the pool at Dive, and 24-hour room service.

Endless Entertainment

Mix it up with snorkel tours, pool sports, dance clubs, rock climbing, Heaven Nightclub, and of course, live concerts to party the night away.

Where to stay at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Deluxe Room

You’re a Rock Star now. Soak it in and enjoy top-shelf luxury and everything you need for an unforgettable all-inclusive stay.

Deluxe Platinum – Grand Sky Terrace

Amp things up with unparalleled access to the things in life that rock, like the private Grand Sky Terrace and private BBQ service. (charges may apply)

What not to miss in Riviera Maya

Chichen Itza

The most popular Mayan site, at Chichen Itza you can visit the iconic Castle of Kukulcan, the famous Ball Court, and more.


Xcaret is a full day of eco-adventures including underground rivers, a turtle farm and Xcaret’s one-of-a-kind celebration, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.

Fun facts

  • Julia Roberts, Mark Wahlberg and Christina Aguilera have all stayed in the Riviera Maya.
  • Most of the cave scenes in the 2005 horror movie “The Cave” were filmed in the Riviera Maya.
  • Rihanna, Marc Anthony, David Guetta and Enrique Iglesias have all performed at an all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel.

Need to know

Language: Spanish is the official language.

Electricity: 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)

Transfer: 70 minutes from Cancun airport

Weather: Generally 25°C – 30°C

Famous landmark: Chichen Itza

Currency: Mexican pesos (MXN). Canadian and US dollars are also generally accepted.

01 Feb


The best of Riviera Maya

February 1, 2014 | By |

Brighter Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is one of our favourite places. We love the culture, the food, the history, the journey down the coast from Cancun along the Riviera Maya. The ruins at Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba for Mayan heritage. Playa del Carmen for a night on the town. And beautiful beaches that go on forever.

The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is the latest resort to open here and we couldn’t be more excited. This place keeps it rockin’ with amazing restaurants, tons of activities, spectacular rooms and that irresistible Hard Rock vibe.

Plus, they host tons of live concerts from today’s biggest stars. Imagine heading down for a few days in the sun and seeing Rihanna or Timberlake live in concert? With daily flights from Toronto, that’s no problem at all. That’s Air Canada Vacations. That’s your brighter Riviera Maya.

01 Feb


Top 10 advantages of a destination wedding

February 1, 2014 | By |

  • Less stress! No worries about where everyone is going to stay, where to eat, changing venues for the reception-everything's happening at the resort.
  • Go easy on yourself and take full advantage of the services and experience of your own resort wedding planner, commonly included with your package.
  • Be creative! There is no limit to the event you can create. Try a tropical theme, incorporate local traditions, whatever you want.
  • You can keep things casual, which means everyone is more comfortable.
  • Your wedding is also a vacation, which means friends and family get to spend some fun time together before and after the ceremony.
  • No need to choose between his hometown or yours.
  • Your family would travel to your wedding, why not invite them to somewhere exotic.
  • Grooms will happily help in the planning of a destination wedding, including activities and exciting excursions for your guests.
  • You'll save money because all-inclusive packages often work out cheaper.
  • Your honeymoon starts the minute you say "I do!"

01 Feb


Jose Vargas’s Hard Rock Hotel

February 1, 2014 | By |

Jose Vargas, the VIBE Manager at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, shares his take on how to keep things going strong.

What is a VIBE Manager?

VIBE stands for Visionary Individual Behind Energy. It’s my job to make you feel good.

What’s your background?

I started in the music industry right after college. Before joining Hard Rock, I was staging events at big music festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella.

Do you have a personal mantra?

I like to say that music is my religion.

If the Hard Rock was a food, how would you describe it?

Molecular gastronomy. We took a familiar dish, broke it down and elevated it to a new level.

How do you pick the music?

We create music zones. The bars should be poppin’ and pools need to have a perfect balance of chill and party.

Can I take the playlists home with me?

Of course, at check-in you’re given a download code for It’s part of our Sound of Your Stay program.

What’s your favourite piece of rock memorabilia?

The prototype Paul Reed Smith guitar that was made for Carlos Santana. He’s one of the reasons I wanted to play guitar.

How do you choose your musical guests?

When we book major acts, we like to book an up-and-coming local band for the opener. Support local talent.

One artist you would love to see live at the Hard Rock?

I’d like to see a constant flow of artists. It would be cool if Bruno Mars was staying here and got up with our house band, or M.I.A did a DJ set.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken at Hard Rock?

Everyday there are risks. You just have to try it.

How do you keep Mexico in the mix?

Both my parents are Mexican and there are some great bands coming out of Mexico, so it’s not hard.

What’s next for the vibe at Hard Rock?

We want Hard Rock to be the place to be, for fans looking for the ultimate all-inclusive vacation and for artists looking to rock out and relax.

17 Jan


Ask the travel experts!

January 17, 2014 | By |

Some people have been there and done that and still can't wait to try even more. We call these people travel experts. We've gathered four expert travellers and asked them to share their globe-trotting wisdom.

1. Of all Air Canada Vacations' beach destinations, which is your favourite?

Claire Newell

I love Maui. I went as a kid with my parents and brothers. Now I go back with my own family. Last year we stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani with a group of friends over New Year's. It was an amazing trip! Maui has a special place in my heart.

Steve Gillick

The variety of activities in Cuba is pretty amazing. Varadero is perfect for unwinding: just watching the clouds drift by and strolling the soft sand. In addition, there are many places that showcase culture, music, markets, museums, history and adventure especially in nearby Santiago, Trinidad and Havana.

Ryan Murdock

Barbados. It has icing sugar beaches, and translucent water you'd swear was glass. Splurge on an upscale meal at Champers, or party with the locals at Oistin's Fish Fry. And be sure to drive north to St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can tour he old plantation house and purchase a bottle of the most fragrant white rum I've ever tasted.

IIona Kauremszky

I'm a big lover of nature and sun so for me it's whale watching off the coast of Samana D.R. and then hitting the nearby soft white sands of Cayo Levantado that make the perfect beach holiday. The water is a clear heavenly blue and some of the nicest I've seen.

2. Of all Air Canada Vacations' destinations, what is your ultimate vacation destination?

Claire Newell

South America is definitely next on my bucket list — specifically The Galapagos in Ecuador and Machu Picchu in Peru. I would just love to experience those places with my husband and kids.

Steve Gillick

French Polynesia offers the opportunity to explore the mystical, dreamy destinations of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, all in the spirit of immersing oneself in places that are totally different from what we are used to.

Ryan Murdock

Chile. Where else can you explore the world's driest desert, climb to the snow line on Andean peaks, take a dip in the ocean and tour a winery, all in the same weekend? I'd also love to take a side trip to Easter Island, to satisfy a childhood obsession.

IIona Kauremszky

Wow, that's a difficult one. I always wanted to go to Peru to see the Inca city of Machu Picchu plus I hear the culinary scene in Lima is one of the hottest right now.

3. What is your best-kept travel secret?

Claire Newell

Like I mentioned, Maui is spectacular. The beaches in Wailea are gorgeous. The Fairmont Kea Lani is amazing and the rooms are big (over 800 sq ft). Our family's favourite restaurant there is Monkeypod.

Steve Gillick

Tsuzuku is a tiny seafood izakaya (restaurant/bar) tucked away on a side street in the Kagurazaka district of Tokyo. It features melt-in-your mouth fresh seafood in a very friendly, laid-back, atmosphere. For an authentic off-the-beaten-track, memorable dining experience, this is the place to go.

Ryan Murdock

Wales. You can't throw a stone without hitting a 13th-century church, hilltop castle, or Roman site. Follow the trail of poet Dylan Thomas, and pay a visit to his childhood home. Enjoy local delicacies and crisp microbrews. Or just hike the green rolling hills and torn off coast. It's definitely Europe's best-kept secret.

IIona Kauremszky

I love exploring Edinburgh with my spouse who is an award-winning film director. His unique perspective and brilliant observations on the architecture and hearing about all those great Scots add so much to my own personal experience. As a writer, there's always something to discover in Edinburgh. It's no wonder authors have hailed from there for centuries.

4. What is your best packing tip?

Claire Newell

The second you think of packing something, PAC IT. If you wait, you will forget. And, if you can't afford to lose it (either financially or emotionally), don't pack it.

Steve Gillick

Bubble wrap! I collect wine, sake and tribal masks. When I started to bring bubble wrap with me, the breakage rate dipped to 0%. Toilet paper is a great substitute. Thickly wrap delicate items and they will be protected in your checked luggage.

Ryan Murdock

You don't need it. And if you do, you can find it locally. Oh, and leave those travel gadgets behind — the clotheslines, universal sink stopper, inflatable neck pillow, travel steam iron, sheet sleeping bag, etc. You'll never use them. But you will drag them around for the rest of your trip.

IIona Kauremszky

Ziploc bags — I can't carry enough of them. They're good for storing suntan lotion, wet swimsuits and help keep all my stuff sorted.


Claire NewellClaire Newell

Claire Newell is the official travel consultant for Global BC and best-selling author of Travel Best Bets – An Insider's Guide to Taking Your Best Trips, Ever. Her latest television role is as co-host of the new travel series Operation: Vacation, airing on Travel & Escape. Follow Claire at and on Twitter @clairenewell

Steve GillickSteve Gillick

Steve Gillick is a travel industry trainer with over 30 years of travelling, speaking, writing, coaching and promoting what he refers to as “infectious enthusias about travel”. Steve is president of the consultancy, Talking Travel. To date he has explored 68 countries and over 530 destinations.

Ryan MurdockRyan Murdock

Ryan Murdock is Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine, and the author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America.

IIona KauremszkyIIona Kauremszky

Unabashedly passionate about discovering the world beyond her door, this award-winning travel journalist's bags are always packed and ready for the next big adventure. Ilona Kauremszky invites you to follow her travel pursuits on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.

14 Jan


Things to know about the Dominican Republic

January 14, 2014 | By |

The Dominican Republic has never-ending options and activities. Punta Cana offers world-class golf and famous beaches and is an ideal setting for water sports, while La Romana awes with classic Caribbean beauty. Puerto Plata has lively urban culture, and Samana features charming village surrounded by lush tropical forests.

Fast facts

Language : Spanish is the official language.

Electricity: 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)

Currency: Dominican peso (DOP). The US dollar is also generally accepted.

Famous Landmark: Los Haitises National Park, in Samana, with beautiful islands and mangroves.

To do list

Altos de Chavon

La Romana

This half-day tour explores the picturesque artists' village of Altos de Chavon. Visit a cigar factory, then enjoy free time for shopping at a local market.

Outback Safari

Punta Cana

Experience the real Dominican Republic. Taste homegrown organic coffee and chocolate, meet the people, visit a typical home, and see local schools and villages. Cool down at secluded Macao Beach and try boogie boarding.

Paradise Island

Puerto Plata

Start off at El Castillo, where Christopher Columbus dropped anchor. Next stop is Cayo Paraiso, a sandbank surrounded by a coral reef. Snorkel amidst colourful fish or soak up the sun.

4 Wheels

Punta Cana

Experience the exhilaration of driving a four-wheeler through the breathtaking countryside. Head to Macao Beach for a refreshing swim in crystal clear waters.

Los Haitises National Park Ecological Tour


Travel via speedboat to the Los Haitises National Park. See flocks of birds, lush rainforest, mangroves and maybe even a manatee! Explore the park's intricate maze of caves and limestone formations.

Did you know?

  • Over 800,000 children play organized baseball in the Dominican Republic.
  • The Dominican Republic is credited with creating and developing Merengue, a fast-paced rhythmic dance music.
  • The Dominican Republic is known as the “breadbasket of the Caribbean” because it grows, farms or catches almost all of its food.

07 Jan


Things to know about Antigua

January 7, 2014 | By |

Brighter GETAWAYS Antigua

A few things for you to think about while you’re planning your trip to Antigua.

What to experience at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Discovery Dining

Eleven distinct restaurants serve specialties from around the world, around the clock, including Asian, British Pub Fare, French, Caribbean, Italian and Southwestern.

Your wedding in paradise

Book your wedding at Sandals Resorts and take advantage of your very own personal wedding coordinator to help with all the details.

Candlelight dinner

Indulge in a romantic, private candlelight dinner on the beach, by the pool or in a cabana. Just ask your butler to arrange  it. (available for a charge in non-butler rooms and suites)

Two unique villages at one resort

The Caribbean Village boasts a strong Jamaican influence and lush foliage whereas the Mediterranean Village is inspired by Europe’s elegant coastal cities.

Experience your Luxury Included® Vacation for two people in love at 15 Sandals Resorts in the most beautiful destinations across the Caribbean.

Where to stay at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Mediterranean One Bedroom Butler Villa Suite with Private Pool Sanctuary

These spacious villa suites offer total romantic seclusion with private plunge pools and whirlpools, and the finest amenities. Enjoy butler and 24-hour room service.

Caribbean Honeymoon Butler Rondoval with Private Pool Sanctuary

These exotic suites are in individual circular buildings with cone-shaped roofs, featuring patios, private plunge pools, mahogany beds, butler and 24-hour room service.

What not to miss in Antigua

Antigua Rainforest Canopy Adventure

Zip line across the glorious gorge at Fig Tree Drive, then take the “Stairway to Heaven” to the Canopy Café for views of the rushing zipliners.

Circumnavigation Cruise

Cruise Antigua’s coastline. Stop for snorkelling and swimming at a deserted beach on Green Island and enjoy a delicious local lunch.

FUN facts

• Some of the world’s best cricketers hail from Antigua, including Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose, many of whom still reside on the island.

• Antigua has 365 beaches, a new one for every day of the year!

Need to know

English is the official language. Antiguan Creole is widely spoken.

East Caribbean dollar (XCD). The US dollar is also generally accepted.

Within minutes from the airport, complimentary resort transfer included.

110 or 220 Volts.

Devil’s Bridge, a natural limestone arch formation.

Non-stop flights from Toronto aboard Air Canada, 4.5 hours.

You only need to be in Antigua for 48 hours before you can get married.

The Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort

Book today