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Air Canada Vacations - Page 27 of 33 - Travel Blog

28 Feb


The best of Bahamas

February 28, 2014 | By |

Brighter Bahamas

Head for a short or long stay to the over 700 islands in the Bahamas, an idyllic oasis just three hours from Toronto. Walk the perimeter of the capital, indulge in surf and sand, or snorkel the distinct green-blue waters of the Exumas, exploring hidden grottos and Blue Hole diving universes. Discover the local specialty, conch salad, accessorize with a Panama hat from Nassau’s straw market or catch up on local pirate history.

For over 30 years, Sandals Resorts and Air Canada Vacations have partnered to provide excellence and luxury to Canadians. Let Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay escort you to a personal paradise in this unbelievable aquatic nation.

28 Feb


Things to know about Bahamas

February 28, 2014 | By |

Brighter GETAWAYS Bahamas

Fun facts and popular activities for you to think about while you're planning your trip to the Bahamas.

What to experience at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Discovery Dining

Savour impressive and diverse cuisine with 18 unique culinary concepts brought to life at up to 10 restaurants per resort – all unlimited and all included.

Red Lane® Spa

Enjoy a seaside massage on Sandals Royal Bahamian's offshore island or a couple's treatment at Sandals Emerald Bay's award-winning spa. Indulge with unique body wraps, exquisite facials and more. (spa services are additional)

Butler service included in top-tier suites

Let personalized butler service cater to your needs. Enjoy Rolls-Royce airport transfers at Sandals Royal Bahamian and order breakfast on your private terrace or specialty drinks poolside, butler style.

Unlimited water sports

Top-of-the-line equipment and expert instructors are available at no extra cost. Try out windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and plenty more.

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

Where to stay

Sandals Royal Bahamian

Windsor Honeymoon Hideaway Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Zen Butler Suite

At the Bahamas' most elegant resort, your spacious suite opens to a coral stone patio, just steps from the Crystal Lagoon pool.

Sandals Emerald Bay

Royal Estate Beachfront Two-storey One-bedroom Butler Villa Suite with Pool

Reminiscent of a true Bahamian manor, this villa is a luxurious, sprawling beachfront retreat with a private pool, beach access, and butler service.

What not to miss

Sandals Royal Bahamian

Offshore Island

Escape to Sandals Royal Bahamian's offshore island, an isolated, lavish retreat with a seafood restaurant and beach perfect for lounging, only minutes from the main resort by ferry.

Sandals Emerald Bay

Sandals Emerald Reef Golf Club

This 18-hole course, designed by golf legend Greg Norman, is the Bahamas' leading golf resort and features six signature seaside holes on a breathtaking peninsula. (green fees apply)

FUN facts

  • The Bahamas' name originates from the Spanish word bajamar, meaning “shallow water.”
  • The Bahamas is an ecological oasis composed of 700 islands, with the world's third largest barrier reef.
  • Sandals Royal Bahamian was once a private club for 1940's high society such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Need to know

  • Language: English is the official language.
  • Electricity: 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)
  • Currency: Bahamian dollar (BSD).The US dollar is also readily accepted.
  • Famous landmark: The Cloisters were built in France in the 14th century and eventually moved to Paradise Island.
  • Dish: Bahamian Rock Lobster with a side of pigeon peas, spiced rice, tomatoes and onions

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.

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.