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Beaches Resorts Archives - Air Canada Vacations

23 Oct

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Things to Do in Puerto Plata

October 23, 2018 | By |

Get ready for care-free floats in the pool with cocktails in hand, snorkelling off idyllic islands, and adrenaline-inducing exploration! The northern province of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic has become an increasingly popular vacation destination, because of its gorgeous beaches and laidback lifestyle. There are beach resorts all along the coastline where you can enjoy luxurious amenities and find the relaxation you deserve.

But don’t be fooled, there’s also a multitude of different experiences waiting for you in this lush Dominican paradise, including historic sites and immersive cultural opportunities. Consider a longer stay so you’ll have time to complete your growing list of things to do in Puerto Plata.

The balance of activities available to us was a nice surprise. As a result, we’ve compiled our recommendations into the top 5 things to do in Puerto Plata.

The Vacation Couple in Puerto Plata

Visit Paradise Island

On the border of the province, just off the coast of Punta Rucia, you’ll find one of the smallest islands in the world, Cayo Arena, aptly nicknamed Paradise Island.  You can spend the afternoon lounging, eating, drinking, swimming or snorkelling around this 2,000 square foot slice of paradise.

Visiting Cayo Arena is part of an all-day excursion available through Air Canada Vacations. Our tour included a VIP boat ride with unlimited drinks, coffee, and fresh fruit, as well as a delicious buffet lunch with lobster. Our day started with great music, friendly staff, and a floating champagne bar.

Once we arrived at the main attraction, Cayo Arena, we all found an area to ourselves. The sand was so soft that in certain places, it actually felt like walking in Jell-O! While we snorkelled, the fish were out in abundance and unabashedly swam by us in their natural habitat. No visit to Puerto Plata would be complete without a visit to Cayo Arena, an idyllic slice of paradise!

Jump Off Waterfalls

The Damajagua Waterfalls are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls in the Dominican jungle made by Mother Nature and the Damajagua River. You’ll strap on your life jacket and helmet before climbing up to the 7th waterfall to begin your adventure of climbing, sliding, or jumping off into the water below. For the faint of heart, there’s the option of taking stairs down, but we recommend taking the more exciting route and JUMPING!

You’ll only cover a quarter of the waterfalls in this 2-3 hour tour, so it won’t take up your entire day.  We recommend going early and enjoying your buffet lunch before carrying on with your day under the Dominican sunshine.  To balance our day, we visited a nearby beach before going back to our resort to indulge in all-inclusive luxuries.  This brings us to our next point, one of the most essential things to do in Puerto Plata…

Relax At an All-Inclusive Resort

The coast of Puerto Plata is filled with views of lush vegetation, rolling mountains and a gorgeous ocean with tons of marine life to explore. Staying at a beach resort ensures you’ll take advantage of all of Puerto Plata’s natural surroundings. We stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe San Juan, a short 10-minute drive from Rio San Juan.

This resort is part of the Spotlight Collection, which elevates your vacation with exclusive added values. I’m talking more à la carte dinners, in-room amenities, and 4,000 bonus Aeroplan® Miles per couple!

The Rooms

With 845 rooms across their grand property, this beautiful pastel community in the jungle feels open and airy.  Besides our beautiful balcony, the mini bar was a feature that we really loved as it had a variety of pop, juices, water, and beer that we could grab at any time.  Our room was located at the centre of the property, which made getting to the beach, pool, lobby, and most restaurants an absolute breeze.

The Food

Although Shadi and I love a sit-down meal at an à la carte restaurant (which we’ll get to soon), our true passion is buffets. And the main restaurant, La Brisa International Buffet, did not disappoint us! We were pleased morning, noon, and night at the selection of fresh foods served. Also, they had an ice cream bar, need we say more?

What to Do

With a swim-up bar and ample room to float around, the main lake-style pool is where the party’s at! We also enjoyed the quieter times at the other pools, as they gave us privacy and had direct access to the beach.

We had over 1.5 km of private beach at our fingertips, surrounded by thick, bright, and beautiful flora. You could wade in the water or take a stroll on the sand, and sunsets were truly magical here.

Take advantage of both the snorkelling and paddle boarding, as both are complimentary with your stay. Or you can go that extra mile and indulge in spa services with facilities that are adorned with Dominican touches. Who doesn’t love having a relaxing massage on the beach while listening to the soothing sounds of the sea?

Go on a City Tour

With a full-day tour of the city, you’ll be able to learn while visiting influential places. Here are our top things to do in Puerto Plata, city edition.

Mount Isabel de Torres

Chris the Redeemer statue

Riding the teleferico was an event on its own. It’s the only cable car in the Caribbean and allows for panoramic views of the city and coastline from 800m above sea level.

As we headed up Mount Isabel de Torres, the breathtaking views slowly presented themselves and the anticipation began to build. Once we reached the top, the large Christ the Redeemer statue was waiting for us with open arms.

During your time up here, we recommend wandering through the Botanical Gardens and taking in the surroundings. This colourful garden covers nearly 7 acres and features 600 varieties of tropical plants.

Brugal Rum Distillery

One of the most memorable experiences we had in Puerto Plata is touring the family-owned Brugal Rum Distillery. The Brugal family is the largest producer of traditionally made rum in the Dominican.

We toured the distillery with Jassil Brugal, a 5th generation brewmaster. Her passion for the process was apparent as she spoke to us. It was fascinating to learn about the aging process and see each step along the way. The tour ended with a rum tasting and a new appreciation for premium rums and the legacy of the distillery.

Central Park

Found in the centre of Puerto Plata city, Parque Central welcomes you with its surrounding palms and colourful pastel architecture. The main square is a beautiful place where locals relax and spend time with friends and family. You’ll find a café, and restaurant around the square, as well as bakeries, street art, souvenir shops, museums and the Atlantic Ocean just a couple of blocks away. Wandering these gorgeous streets should be at the top of your list of things to do in Puerto Plata.

Go Beach Hopping

Puerto Plata beachesWith over 100 km of beautiful beaches to choose from, it’s easy to find a spot to enjoy. We visited as many beaches as we possibly could which resulted in time at Playa Sosua, Cabarete, Playa Dorada, and the stunning beach at the Grand Bahia Principe San Juan.

Each beach seemed to have its own distinct personality, with Kite beach in Cabarete being one of the most memorable. We wandered along the shore admiring all the kiteboarders slicing through the water. One surfer stood out from the rest, and locals shared that he was a world champion kitesurfer. Watching him cut through the waves and do flips in the air is an experience we’ll never forget!

Why You Should Visit Puerto Plata

There are many more things to do in Puerto Plata, but these are our absolute favourites. It’s truly an experience like no other, with such a rich diversity of activities for you to choose from.  With so many different options for food, activities, and accommodations, you can craft the perfect combination for you.

Air Canada Vacations offers flights from Toronto to Puerto Plata weekly during the summer months and four times per week during the winter months. Plus, you’ll be receiving 1 checked bag per person plus all transfers from the airport to your hotel in your package price.

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

 

29 Dec

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Turks and Caicos’ best activities

December 29, 2017 | By |

Provo Dune Buggy Discovery
Discover Providenciales aboard a five-seat dune buggy, making your way through local communities and taking in the most beautiful sights. Explore Blue Hills, one of the oldest settlements on the island, and stop at the top of Blue Mountain, the highest point on the island, for a breathtaking view.

Underwater Submarine Adventure
Get up close and personal with a unique panoramic view of coral formations, tropical fish, stingrays, sea turtles and other fascinating marine life, all while staying comfortably dry aboard this glass-bottom semi-submarine. The island’s mascot Jo-Jo the dolphin might make a guest appearance too!

Fishing Tours
Three tours, three experiences! Deep-sea sport fishing brings you to the best spots to fish for blue marlin, wahoo, and mahi-mahi. You just might reel in snapper, grouper, yellowtail, barracuda and other tasty treats on the Reef Tour. Or navigate the shallow flat and crystal clear waters to fish for the swift and clever bonefish on the Bone Fishing Tour.

Plan your visit to Beaches Turks & Caicos!

29 Dec

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What to do at Beaches Turks & Caicos?

December 29, 2017 | By |

Fun for Tots
There’s fun for children of all ages at the Kids Camp with programs for infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teens. Infants and toddlers can meet, play and enjoy every day with Sesame Street® characters, stage shows, parades and activities including Discovering Nature with Big Bird, Exploring the Moon with Elmo and much more, or hop on board the Choo Choo Train for a ride through the resort.

The Teen Experience
Excitement awaits at Trench Town, the place to be for pre-teens and teens, with arcade games, foosball, air hockey, electronic basketball, Satellite Radio playing all the hits, flat-screen TVs, and much more! Gamers get to experience ultimate gaming with unlimited play at the Xbox Play Lounge, including a variety of games so new, some haven’t been launched on the streets yet!

Fun by Day
This resort offers you unlimited water and land sports, and tons more! Enjoy the thrill of waterslides at Pirates Island Waterpark and indulge in frozen yogurt, milkshakes or mac n’ cheese at the food trucks. Explore undersea sights with Snuba*, a program for all ages and levels of divers, where you experience the adventure of scuba diving with the ease of snorkelling.
*Additional charges apply.

Fun by Night
The excitement continues into the night at this fun-filled resort. The live storytelling spectacles of Voilà Entertainment, featuring The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and La Dolce Vita, will captivate you. Afterwards, Club Liquid is the place to be, inviting children to enjoy some time to dance before the adults take over to unwind in a cool atmosphere with a South Beach vibe.

Plan your visit to Beaches Turks & Caicos!

29 Dec

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Where to stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos?

December 29, 2017 | By |

Caribbean, Seaside and Italian Living
Surrounded by a garden oasis, a beautiful beach and two relaxing pools, the Caribbean and Seaside Villages are perfect for travellers looking for the authentic ambience of the islands. Perhaps you prefer a touch of la dolce vita? The Italian Village offers you great shopping at the piazza, a stunning ocean view and a pool big enough for a gondola!

Key West Vibes and the French Riviera
A laid-back lifestyle with a touch of elegance awaits you at the Key West Village with an oceanfront pool and relaxing beachfront lounge with a firepit. If a classic escape is more appealing, the chateau in the French Village is straight out of a fantasy, surrounded by French gardens inspired by Versailles, chic restaurants and outdoor cafés.

Plan your visit to Beaches Turks & Caicos!

29 Dec

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Beaches, better than ever

December 29, 2017 | By |

Welcome to Family Paradise. Named one of Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Hotels for Families, the newly reopened Beaches® Turks & Caicos is situated on the beautiful, world-renowned beach of Grace Bay. Families are in for a treat with fun and exceptional new dining experiences including including food trucks, Bombay Club, and Sky, a beachfront rooftop restaurant with stunning views of Grace Bay as far as the eye can see.

Find your perfect vacation now.

23 Sep

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Fun for Everyone

September 23, 2016 | By |

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa knows that you want a stress-free and fun vacation. That’s why everything, for everyone is all included, all the time.

 

Pirates Island Waterpark

Beaches has the best waterparks in the Caribbean and Beaches Negril is no exception. Kids of all ages will love this 18,000 square foot beachfront fun-filled park with 200-foot waterslides, 650-foot lazy river, splash deck, water cannons, whirlpools and swim-up soda bar.

 

Room for Everyone

Beaches Negril boasts over a dozen spectacular room categories including the incredible Together Nest Suites®. These luxurious suites and villas are the perfect home-away-from-home for couples or for families up to 12 and include world-class amenities and butler or concierge service.

 

ATV Safari Negril

Head out to explore the scenic Jamaican countryside. Your ATV is easy to handle and the perfect way to navigate the rugged terrain en route to a small Jamaican village and a historic Presbyterian Church. On the return trip, stop for some amazing views across the Caribbean Sea.

 

Sunset Horseback Ride and Swim

Enjoy a relaxing horseback ride from a private beach to an 18th-century sugar plantation and a unique experience of Jamaica’s history and culture. Then, ride bareback in the warm Caribbean Sea before toasting the sunset with a glass of bubbly.

 

Water Sports and Scuba Diving

Only Beaches includes motorized and non-motorized watersports in your vacation. Whether you want to try windsurfing, snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding or waterskiing, it’s all unlimited, all the time. If you’re PADI certified, enjoy two free scuba dives every day. If you’re not, the resort course will get you diving like a pro in no time.

 

Land Sports

The list of things to do at Beaches Negril is almost endless with activities for every age and member of your family, from beach volleyball and tennis to a state-of-art fitness centre.

23 Sep

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Adrian Knows Families

September 23, 2016 | By |

Adrian Whitehead is the General Manager of Beaches Negril. He prides himself on delivering a family vacation that’s beyond expectation, where every member of your family, no matter how old or young, will find something unforgettable.

 

How do you help kids and teens have an amazing vacation?

We have programs for kids of every age group, from infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teens, as well as for children with special needs. There are activities designed to entertain them all.

 

How do you help parents get away for a few hours alone?

Our certified nannies are able to care and entertain the children while the parents spend time together. They can enjoy serious pampering in our Red Lane® Spa or dine on the beach with a romantic candlelight dinner.

 

Of all the Sesame Street® activities, what’s the most popular?

The parade is the most popular; it leads our guests around the resort to a beach party. The daily Sesame Street® stage shows and individual activities with all the characters are a big hit as well.

 

What will teens find in Trench Town?

There are fun arcade games including foosball, air hockey, electronic basketball cages and it is a great hangout spot for all teen gatherings and parties.

 

What’s new at the Xbox Play Lounge?

Both the Xbox Live and Xbox One are the most popular. There are weekly dance competitions and the Xbox Olympics that lead you to be the Ultimate Controller in our scheduled events.

 

Have you ever tried your hand at Scratch DJ Academy®?

Yes, DJ Whitehead is fully trained and actually won a spin-off against the General Manager from Sandals Negril at our year-end staff party.

23 Sep

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Beaches® Brings Everyone Closer Together

September 23, 2016 | By |

Welcome to an all-inclusive vacation where worrying is the last thing you’ll do. At Beaches Negril Resort & Spa on the famous Seven Mile Beach, you can be carefree and casually cool because everything for every age is included, from the beachfront Pirates Island Waterpark, to nine gourmet specialty restaurants, and unlimited land and water sports including scuba diving.*

With everything taken care of, you and your family can focus on what’s important – having the time of your lives together. And with non-stop flights from across Canada, Air Canada Vacations can take you there any time you like. So, why wait?

 

*PADI certification is required to dive, but not included. PADI dive courses, night dives and kids’ dive programs are available on resort for a nominal fee.