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Caribbean and Mexico Archives - Page 21 of 24 - Air Canada Vacations

27 Jan


Celebrating in the sun

January 27, 2014 | By |

… just got better. Take your wedding to the sun, and suddenly finding places for everyone to stay, planning the entertainment and finalizing the menu, all become a breeze. Many of our resorts offer fantastic wedding specials and on-site wedding coordinators who can take care of just about everything from the flowers, the food and the music to the seating arrangements and table decorations. The only things left for you to worry about are how many swimsuits to bring and how many people to invite. And the larger the group, the easier it gets. For groups of 10 or more, Air Canada Vacations has travel specialists ready to organize all your travel plans from flights and hotels to great rates and other perks. Celebrating in the sun simply unforgettable.

Forty in Vegas

As if my group of friends hadn’t done enough for my 40th a whole weekend in Vegas with the 10 of us golfing, dining and taking in great shows I found myself on the last day in a helicopter high above the Grand Canyon. Great majestic cliffs and the tiny blue ribbon of the Colorado way down below. It was a stunning sight and perhaps the best birthday present I’ve ever received.

Family Caribbean Cruise

We’d shopped the market in St. Thomas. We’d climbed to Brimstone Hill Fortress on St. Kitts. We’d tasted spicy treats on Grenada. My parents’ retirement had been toasted. My husband had discovered a passion for hot tubs. My sister and her husband had fallen in love again at the piano bar. All the kids, all six of them, had made great friends at the kids’ club. And now, on our way to dive the blue waters of Bonaire, I stood on the bow of our cruise ship and looked up at the glorious night sky—sparkling stars as far as far can be.

The time of my life in London

Still jetlagged, my gang of friends and I clambered into our seats at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The place was electric. Hundreds of ABBA fans all crowded in to see the 10th anniversary of Mamma Mia in London. The curtain went up and I think I sang along with every single song. After the bows and the cheering, I thought it was over and then… Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson actually appeared onstage and I just went berserk.

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.

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

07 Jan


The best of Antigua

January 7, 2014 | By |

Love is in the air in Antigua. Stroll the colourful capital of Saint John’s or browse the flowers, fruits and crafts at its Saturday Morning Market. Discover romance by the sea as you snorkel or scuba the spectacular reefs before enjoying an intimate picnic on the beach. Afterwards from Shirley Heights Lookout, share an unforgettable Southern Caribbean sunset over historic English Harbour.

While in Antigua, stay at the all-inclusive Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa. Indulge in incredible suites, like “Suites-in-the-Round” Rondovals; and delight in delicious dining, impeccable service and endless activities at the Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort. It’s the perfect place for your romantic getaway, honeymoon or sparkling tropical wedding.

That’s Air Canada Vacations. That’s your brighter Antigua!


Non-stop flights from Montreal and Toronto

Connect through Toronto from 65 cities across Canada year-round

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02 Jan


Your trip to Cuba

January 2, 2014 | By |

Cayo Largo and Santa Clara promise great diving and snorkelling. Varadero is a 21-kilometre stretch of fine white sand beaches, and a sure bet for golf lovers. And Cayo Coco and Holguin offer fun, cultural activities in an ideal tropical setting.

Fast facts

Language: Spanish is the official language.

Electricity: 110 or 220 Volts

Currency: Cuban Convertible peso (CUC)

Famous Landmark: Castillo del Morro, the picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana Bay.

To do list

Two Colonial Cities

Santa Clara

Start off the tour with a visit to the city of Sancti Spíritus. Then, head to Trinidad, founded in the 16th century. Enjoy an authentic Cuban lunch, followed by leisure time.

Spectacular Ciego de Avila

Cayo Coco

Visit Ciego de Avila and see a local cigar house, then tour the historical city centre. Break for lunch, then enjoy a horse and buggy tour and boat ride.

Jeep Adventour


Discover beautiful Cuban landscapes, and Bariay National Monument Park, Columbus’s landing site in 1492. Next, take a speedboat tour and go horseback riding. Enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.

Habana Colonial

Varadero and other cities

Discover the magic of Havana. Stroll through old Havana’s ancient squares, and drive through modern Havana to visit the Capitolio building and Revolution Square. Next, stop at an arts and craft market.

Did you know?

  • The Cubans refer to their island as “El Cocodrilo.” Viewed from above, Cuba is said to resemble a crocodile.
  • When Christopher Columbus first happened upon Cuba in 1492, he thought he had landed in China.
  • Cuba is the birthplace of Bacardi Rum, although Bacard moved to Puerto Rico after Castro’s takeover.

02 Dec


The best of Grenada

December 2, 2013 | By |

Brighter Grenada

For 30 years, Air Canada Vacations and Sandals® Resorts have delivered the very best vacation experiences to Canadians. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the opening of the newest Sandals Resort, Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa, another fantastic Luxury Included® Resort, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

And the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada is the perfect choice. Discover a rich and colourful history in the port capital of St. George’s. Spend the day on spectacular Pink Gin Beach. Dive the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park. Or head into the rainforest and explore the Grand Etang Nature Reserve. Grenada, warm and welcoming, offers nothing but the best.

That’s Air Canada Vacations. That’s your brighter Grenada.

Non-stop flights from Toronto

Connect through Toronto from 65 cities across Canada. View our complete flight schedule.


02 Dec


Interview with Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International

December 2, 2013 | By |

An All-Inclusive Resort Unlike Any Other

Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, gives us a sneak peek into the incredible Sandals LaSource Grenada, the newest addition to the Luxury Included® brand.

What attracted you to Grenada?

We’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to take Sandals Resorts to Grenada for over a decade and it’s as wonderful as we could have wished for. If you took the best of the Caribbean and merged all the islands into one, you’d get Grenada! Great people, stunning beaches, rich culture – it’s the perfect backdrop for a Sandals Resort.

What is unique about the newest Sandals?

We’re always looking for new ways of making the best better and at Sandals LaSource Grenada, we’ve poured 33 years of experience into one resort. You’ll find lush natural gardens, a stunning ocean and beach coupled with the incredible warmth of the Grenadian people and a luxurious property to create magic.

There are so many unique features: the SkyPool Suites with private infinity-edged plunge pools on the balconies; Butch’s Chophouse, the company’s first ever steakhouse; and the South Seas Village, an exotic village that takes its inspiration from Bali.

What’s new at the pool?

We’ve created one of the best resort pools in the Caribbean, featuring a sunken seating deck and sexy firepits where guests can walk into the pool and enjoy the modern and lush atmosphere without ever getting wet – unless they want to! We’ve also added a variety of different settings, from poolside cabanas to private lounge areas and outdoor covered seating areas – and of course, guests can count on poolside butler service.

What are some of your favourite additions?

There are so many but if I had to choose, I’d say our new and exclusive Tranquility Soaking Tubs. They’re located on private terraces and patios creating a whole new way to celebrate romance in the Caribbean.


02 Dec


4 destinations to kick-off the New Year

December 2, 2013 | By |

Crack open the bubbly It's New Year's!

by Ilona Kauremszky

Every holiday has its traditions. Why not start the New Year with your own? I did and haven't looked back. Over the years I've been to amazing places with blockbuster year-end celebrations. So get ready to fasten your seatbelt for this ultimate New Year's party list.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Banderas Bay is the place to be. Just as the clock strikes midnight, spectacular fireworks burst into the sky along this popular hotel strip. Each resort prepares a memorable medley of Technicolor, all vying for the best displays. It's a symphony of fire in the sky. I also like how the pubs are packed along the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta. It's sheer mayhem.

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun's all about the ultimate sun vacation and makes a great stress-free getaway. With so many direct flights, you can opt to travel with family and friends and be on the beach with your favourite umbrella drink. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the ample New Year's Eve celebrations too. I like staying at the hotel for New Year's madness because of the convenience factor. You can dance for hours and make an easy return to your room.

Las Vegas, USA

They don't call it the Entertainment Capital of the World for nothing. Just when you thought the celebrations can't get any bigger in Vegas, they get bigger. I can't get over how the Las Vegas Strip packs in the revellers, and fireworks light up the Nevada sky. Meanwhile A-listers attract their own following as they perform their greatest hits on stages across the city.

New York City, USA

I kept my round-rimmed 2000 glasses as a souvenir of my rocking good time in New York City when we blew our party horns there. Head to Times Square where traditionalists converge. Others find party madness across the boroughs or go all Woody Allenish and sit beside their paramour by the Queensboro Bridge with a glass of bubbly.

30 Oct


The best of the Dominican Republic

October 30, 2013 | By |

Let the sun-filled flavour of the Dominican mango lead you through the most diverse and fertile island in all the Caribbean, which grows, farms and catches almost everything that’s served on dinner tables everywhere, from tropical fruits, to organic cocoa, fresh seafood and rich Dominican coffee.

Explore the possibilities whether you’re loving the sun on the perfect beaches of Punta Cana, kite surfing in Cabarete near Puerto Plata, whale watching in Samana or catching some culture in Santo Domingo while vacationing in beautiful La Romana.

Multiple non-stop flights, excellent hotels including the all-inclusive Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts and exciting excursions to keep you going.

That’s Air Canada Vacations. That’s your brighter Dominican Republic.

Non-stop flights to Dominican Republic

  • Fly to Punta Cana from Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa or Toronto
  • Fly to Puerto Plata from Halifax, Montréalor Ottawa
  • Fly to Samana from Halifax, Montréal or Toronto
  • Fly to La Romana from Toronto

FUN facts

  • 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.
  • Novembre 25°C – 30°C
  • Spanish is the official language.
  • 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)
  • Dominican peso (DOP). The US dollar is also generally accepted.
  • Los Haitises National Park, in Samana, with beautiful islands and mangroves.
  • Local cuisine is a combination of Spanish, Taíno, and African influences.

Read More

30 Oct


Chef Palacios’s Bahia Principe

October 30, 2013 | By |

Executive Chef Oscar Palacios brings his unique wisdom to all the Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, creating brilliant dishes to savour in some of the world’s most beautiful beach locations, including the Dominican Republic.

When did you realize you wanted to be a chef?

When I was very small I would watch my grandmother making fried aniseed and cinnamon rings and I saw the love that she devoted to them. When I tasted them I experienced a world of sensations I had never felt before and that was when I knew I wanted to be a chef.

Where did you study?

I trained under great teachers including Chef Eric Samaniego [of the celebrated Los Angeles Comme Ça], Chef Paul Luna [the mad genius of Atlanta, born in the DR] and Grand Chef Juan Amador [holder of three Michelin stars].

What’s your cooking style? 

I love classic cooking, perfectly timed cooking and resting. I am also a lover of how a dish is presented. Dishes always turn out better with love and passion.

Is there a famous Dominican dish everyone should try? 

Fried chicharrón, chicken marinated in garlic and lime, served with a very cold beer.

What inspired the menu for the Don Pablo Gourmet Restaurant?

In the gourmet restaurants we try to introduce our guests to a world of different flavours and textures. We hope that they feel like they are in one of the most sophisticated restaurants in France.

What do you recommend at Takara?

In Takara we created a fusion of traditional Asian cuisine from various countries and Caribbean ingredients, for example Taco de Atún Rojo (red tuna taco) inspired by Thailand.

Can you recommend a vegetarian dish at the resorts?

Mesclun salad with extra-mild cheese and mango, walnuts and French dressing, cream of courgette soup with morel droplets

Why should we visit the Dominican Republic at least once in our lives?

For the paradise locations with beautiful beaches and the kind and friendly people. 

What’s next?

To keep working. You never stop learning in a kitchen and there are always new challenges to face.