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Air Canada Vacations - Page 24 of 29 - Travel Blog

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.

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.

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

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!


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07 Jan


How to plan a WeddingMoon®

January 7, 2014 | By |

Your Sandals WeddingMoon®

Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Brown, Director of Weddings & Romance at Sandals Resorts, shares her expertise on booking your perfect destination wedding and honeymoon. Sandals has what you need for an elegant, stress-free celebration filled with personalized details that reflect your style.

Why is a destination wedding the right choice?

Exotic landscapes and year-round warmth are key reasons why the Caribbean is the number one choice for destination weddings. Both fun and cost effective, they are the perfect choice for young couples—combining the honeymoon with the ceremony. And as they are often intimate affairs, these unique weddings give close friends and family the enjoyment of a mini vacation, without additional cost to the couple.

What makes a Sandals wedding so unique?

Sandals offers endless ways to make your dreams a reality. With a variety of breathtaking locations around the Caribbean, boasting spectacular beaches and magnificent gardens, the perfect backdrop is never hard to find. Each beautiful location offers “Your Wedding. Your Style.” where our professional planners help you customize and personalize your wedding, from colour palettes and flowers to food and cake.

What is a WeddingMoon®?

Sandals believes your honeymoon starts the moment you say, “I do.” Our exclusive WeddingMoons® celebrations combine the wedding and honeymoon, ensuring the whole experience is filled with excitement and romance. Sandals also offers couples complimentary weddings when they book six nights or more—making even more dreams come true.

What activities are available for my guests after the ceremony?

Sandals Resorts has more quality inclusions than any other resorts on the planet. With unmatched service, anytime dining and endless entertainment for both day and night, including unlimited land and water sports, you will never be bored. While Sandals Resorts is perfect for couples, Beaches Resorts is designed especially for families, offering more activities for guests of all ages.

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.