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Costa Rica Archives - Air Canada Vacations

28 Oct

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A Touch of the Unforgettable

October 28, 2016 | By |

Add some unforgettable to your vacation with these must-do activities.

Catalina & Altos de Chavon

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Cruise Chavon River aboard a Mississippi paddleboat before setting sail on a catamaran for some fun in the sun on beautiful Catalina Island. Your last stop is Altos de Chavon, an artist village modeled after a 16th-century Mediterranean town.

 

Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano is the most active and iconic volcano in all of Costa Rica. Take a zipline adventure tour through the surrounding rainforest for an unforgettable experience of the canopy, views of the lakes and the mountain itself.

 

Chichen Itza and Mayan Heritage

Cancun/Riviera Maya, Mexico

Chichen Itza was recently voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This Mayan temple is magnificent and the full site includes the famous ball court and a magical cenote. A journey here is a journey into the rich heritage of the Mayan world.

 

Off-Road Adventures

Aruba

Aruba has some spectacular, rugged landscapes dotted by windswept divi-divi trees. Follow your guide as you drive your own ATV to natural wonders like the Black Stone Beach and the Conchi, a natural pool. A great experience if you crave a little adrenaline.

11 Sep

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Quiz: What vacation type are you?

September 11, 2015 | By |

When planning a beach holiday, there’s one more box to tick off besides destination, hotel and location: vacation type. Don’t know what that is? No worries, we’re here to explain and help you find yours. Take this short quiz and you’ll be one step closer to finding the palm tree- and piña colada-filled vacation that’s right for you.

When on vacation, what does your perfect day look like?

  1. I like to get an early start and go snorkeling as a family, followed by an afternoon of golf while the kids enjoy fun activities.
  2. Quiet and soothing – I want to be pampered from head to toe. First up, a hot steam bath to relax and then a heavenly massage by the sea.
  3. It doesn’t matter what time I wake up because I’ll be ordering room service. I’ll probably head to the pool at some point and order a mojito from my lounge chair. If only I could live like this everyday…
  4. I’ll play tennis in the morning, soak up the sun in the afternoon, and enjoy a private hot tub at sunset.

How do you feel about kids?

  1. Love ‘em, of course! Vacations are all about creating lifelong family memories.
  2. Kids are great, but this trip is really about recharging my batteries.
  3. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy. Bonus if I don’t have to lift a single finger. I won’t say no to some alone time with my honey either.
  4. No, thanks! I want a holiday geared towards 18+.

It’s been 7 nights in paradise, your bags are packed and it’s almost time to leave for the airport. How do you feel?

  1. Wonderful! The week went by quickly because I was having fun with my family and I can’t wait until the next adventure together.
  2. Content, recharged and ready to take on any challenges at home.
  3. Amazing – I slept in because I had a late checkout and managed to squeeze in one last massage while my bags were packed for me.
  4. Sentimental and romantic. The trip celebrated my relationship with my partner and our bond is stronger than ever.

Now that you’ve finished our quiz, tally up your answers to find out which vacation type best reflects your needs:

Answer 1  >>  1 point

Answer 2  >>  2 points

Answer 3  >>  3 points

Answer 4  >>  4 points

So, what is your idea of the perfect vacation?

3-5 points >> Family Vacation

Allegro Papagayo Resort Family Vacation

Allegro Papagayo Resort

The happiness of your family is a priority and a vacation without your kids is unimaginable. To ensure everyone has a great time, be sure to check out our Play hotels (family-friendly resorts where kids stay and eat free) such as the Allegro Papagayo in Liberia, Costa Rica. Surrounded by beaches, rainforests and active volcanoes, this resort is the epicenter of adventure. From kayaking to nature excursions, there’s plenty to keep the kids active and entertained.

If you prefer to head to a Caribbean island, we recommend the Be Live Collection Marien in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. With a supervised kids club, take some time for yourself and head to the spa or play a round at the nearby Playa Dorada golf course.

No matter which hotel you choose, keep in mind that our Play hotels also come with exclusive flight perks: pre-boarding privileges, free seat selection and a $10 meal voucher for every family member. Your family vacation truly starts at the airport.

6-8 points >> Spa Vacation

Melia Resorts Cuba Spa Vacation

Melia Resorts Cuba

Where are the best indulgences found? Only at our collection of Spa hotels, of course.

Our top pick is the Melia Buenavista All-Inclusive Royal Service & Spa in Santa Clara, Cuba. Designed with total privacy in mind, this adults-only resort is an oasis for rejuvenation. Choose from a range of body treatments and massages at its full-service spa and we promise you’ll leave feeling invigorated.

If you want to spoil yourself and you’re travelling with children, we suggest the neighbouring Melia Las Dunas. This popular hotel provides the perfect balance as it’s tailored for families seeking activity and adults looking to relax. The supervised kids clubs arrange activities according to age, which gives you the chance to retreat to Spa Aguas Claras for a Japanese Shiatsu massage. The kids will be so busy, you’ll even have time for that much-needed pedicure.

9-11 points >> Luxury Vacation

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso Luxury Vacation

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso

You want the royal treatment and nothing less. That’s what vacations means, after all. For an unforgettable luxurious holiday, you will definitely want to stay at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso. Located directly on the beach in Playa Paraiso, in the heart of Riviera Maya, this adults-only, dream paradise has 5 shiny stars attached to its name – and for good reason. At check-in, enjoy a warm welcome with champagne and a minibar stocked with your favourites. By mid-afternoon, lounge poolside and accept a cold beverage from your butler. For dinner, choose between 2 buffets and 4 à la carte restaurants, or perhaps make use of the 24-hour room service. Come bedtime, select the right pillow for your tired head from the elite pillow menu. Rest now because tomorrow will be busy – there’s a Par 72, 18-hole golf course on site, a casino and spa in the massive Complex Shopping Centre, and numerous sports to try.

For similar vacation ideas, discover our complete list of Luxury hotels.

12 points >> Adults-Only Vacation

Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection Adults Only

Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection

You want serenity, intimate moments and above all, a kid-free holiday. Whether you’re celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, or traveling just because, Adults-only hotels are right up your alley. The Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection in La Romana, Dominican Republic, for instance, caters to couples and guests aged 18+. With no less than 8 bars on its premises, local area tours (a visit to Catalina Island is a must!) and nightly entertainment, this resort provides the ideal setting to unwind and let loose. For something different, try merengue, bachata and salsa classes. For something more sensual, try the spa’s aromatic relaxation treatment. Deep breath in and exhale, it doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Curious about what other vacation types exist? Check out our complete list of vacation types to find your dream holiday.

 

03 Feb

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Top 5 Family-Friendly Hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean

February 3, 2015 | By |

It’s not always easy to plan a family vacation – you have to consider everyone’s individual wish list and try to stay within budget. Turns out we’ve found the secret to successful family vacation planning: choosing the right hotel! Here are our top 5 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean that will make your family vacation in the sun an absolutely memorable one.

1) Melia Nassau Beach Resort – Nassau, Bahamas

Melia Nassau Beach Resort

This hotel has all the right ingredients for a successful family vacation. Considering its proximity to the airport, you’ll be able to dodge the age-old ‘Are we there yet?’ question from your kids. Once at the resort, they will likely not be disappointed, and neither will you. At Melia Nassau Beach Resort, everything is in order so that your kids can have fun while you relax in the sun. The on-site kid’s club is typically open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and offers activities that vary daily. From games and sports to arts and crafts, there’s something for everyone.

2) Now Jade Riviera Cancun – Cancun, Mexico

Now Jade Riviera Cancun

This resort is a paradise for kids. And parents too. At Now Jade Riviera Cancun, kids stay free. That’s right, free. Between August and December 2015, kids under 12 years old stay and eat free. Plus, your little ones can keep busy at the Explorer Club, which offers activities like sandcastle-making contests and an ocean trampoline. And they will be in good hands with the club’s animators, who have first aid training and are Red Cross certified. The club is open until 10:00 p.m., which gives Mom and Dad an opportunity for a romantic dinner for 2, if they so desire.

3) Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa

The family suites at Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa are perfect for a family vacation. Upon your arrival in this spacious suite, you will receive a welcome basket of candy. Everything here is designed for your wellbeing: bathrobes and slippers for the grown-ups and little ones, kid-friendly bath products and a minibar that is stocked daily with drinks for the whole family. Prices for kids are attractive and the hotel is home to the ever-entertaining Bahia Scout Club House. The icing on the cake? The hotel has its own kid-friendly water park too!

4) Sol Rio de Luna y Mares – Holguin, Cuba

Sol Rio de Lunas y Mares

This hotel is a family-friendly gem in Cuba. The beach is breathtakingly beautiful, the food is exquisite, kids stay and eat free between April and December 2015, and the staff aims to make your stay memorable. The resort makes you feel at home, while offering an element of fun, relaxation and sun. Your kids can take part in Spanish classes, dance lessons and eco-adventures. In the evening, the hotel’s shows appeal to young and old. Thanks to a professional team that caters to the needs of your entire family, vacationing is pretty sweet at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares.

5) Punta Leona Hotel & Club – San José, Costa Rica

Punta Leona Hotel & Club

The Punta Leona Hotel & Club is ideal for adventurous families who love nature and new experiences. Children under 5 years old stay free at this property. The hotel is located in a 740-acre forest reserve, which is an excellent area to observe numerous bird species such as the scarlet macaw and the spotted sandpiper. You may also encounter white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys and sloths. Hiking trails of various difficulty levels are also available and can be chosen depending on the age of your children. This hotel in the heart of nature will astound both young and old.

 

So where will your next family vacation be? A little easier to choose now, hopefully? To book, or to browse more of these types of hotels, check out our Family vacation page.

 

22 Dec

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Top 15 Destinations to Visit in 2015

December 22, 2014 | By |

Wondering what the world has in store for you in 2015? With a new year, comes new resolutions. And with new resolutions, comes the need for new experiences. This upcoming year, make your new experiences about seeing new places, eating new food, meeting new people. Not sure where to start? From luxury destinations to foodie favourites, these top 15 destinations should give you a very good glimpse at what 2015 holds for you.

1) Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

The hustle and bustle of Nassau never gets old. As both a popular cruise ship port and the commercial hub of the Bahamas, this city has an undeniable pulse. Bay Street is particularly bustling, with its myriad duty-free shops, restaurants and the famous Nassau Straw Market. In 2015, the buzz will be around the opening of Baha Mar, the biggest project to be undertaken in the Bahamas since Atlantis. In addition to 2,200 luxury rooms, this new mega resort will house a Vegas-style casino and approximately 40 restaurants.

2) Saint Lucia

Who knew there was such a thing as a drive-in volcanic crater? Whether you knew of its existence or not, you should know that Saint Lucia has one. It’s called La Soufrière Volanco (or Sulfur Springs) and you can drive up to its crater to witness it emit steam and sulphur. If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you can even have a warm sulphuric mud bath (though you should be warned that as much as it softens the skin, its rotten egg smell may not be well received by your nose). If first-time experiences are what you’re after in 2015, then this may be something to add to your wish list.

3) Osaka, Japan

In 2015, you may want to familiarize yourself with the expression kuidore (Japanese for “to eat yourself bankrupt”). Osaka’s food scene is booming and if you have appetite to spare, then you may want to sample Osakan fare. Takoyaki (octopus balls), Kushikatsu (a deep-fried meat or vegetable skewer) and Okonomiyaki (pork- or seafood-filled pancakes) are among street food favourites. And don’t forget to check out the multiple Michelin-star restaurants scattered around the city.

4) Turks & Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Turks & Caicos is all about luxury – world-class hotels, spas, golf courses. In the last couple of years, it has undergone even more development in the luxury department. In 2015, make sure to check out some of Providenciales’ newest boutique hotels, including the all-suite Beach House Turks & Caicos and the Blue Haven Turks & Caicos, which has its very own marina!

5) Panama

Panama City Skyline

Panama is a country of stark contrasts: it is highly industrialized on the one hand, yet an eco-friendly haven on the other. If you’re looking for a city pulse similar to Miami, Panama City has got it: its abundant high-rises, dining and nightlife are why it has been dubbed the “Miami of the South.” If nature is more your thing, you can hike through the national parks of Coiba and Darien, awe at the cloud forests of Chiriqui or check out the Panama Canal.

6) Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Pura Vida (literally translated as “Pure Life” in English) is probably the most commonly used expression in Costa Rica. While its uses are varied, the meaning is universal: life is beautiful and you should know it. And if there is any place in the world where you can see Mother Nature’s beauty on full display, it has got to be Costa Rica. This is a country with some of the richest flora and fauna in the world, impeccably fresh produce and amazing vistas. If you have not yet had the chance to visit this mecca of natural beauty, make sure to add it to your 2015 bucket list.

7) Hawaii

Kauai Hawaii

If island hopping is on your travel wish list for the new year, then Hawaii should definitely be on your radar. The Hawaiian Islands have got it all: Visit Kaui for some history, Oahu for action-packed Honolulu, Maui for its culinary delights or the Big Island for its volcanic sights. See more Hawaii Highlights.

8) Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Milan is currently in full swing, preparing to host one of the world’s main events of the new year: Expo 2015. The theme of the exposition is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and will take place from May 1 to October 31, 2015. It will feature more than 60 custom-built pavilions and the city is currently planning special exhibitions and the opening of new museums for the event.

9) Curaçao

Curacao diving

In 2015, Curaçao will celebrate 5 years of its semi-independence as an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its Dutch influences are nevertheless visible on the island – in the colonial architecture of Willemstad, the local specialties at MarsheBieuw (also called Old Market) and in the local patois called Papiamento. Besides it cultural diversity, Curaçao has over 40 world-class dive spots – see our top 5 here!

10) Grenada

Spice Mas Festival Grenada

Also known as “Spice Island,” Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg and mace. Spice is not Grenada’s only gem though; this island is abundant in other natural riches like its beaches, the Annandale Falls, the beaches at Morne Rouge Bay and Grand Anse, and the flora and fauna of Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve. In 2015, get a taste of the island by attending the Spice Mas Festival, Grenada’s colourful carnival that features music, parading and masquerading.

11) Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Move over Riviera Maya, it’s time for Riviera Nayarit to shine. This 320-kilometre stretch of Pacific coastline is definitely a quieter alternative to its Caribbean-sided counterpart. You can golf in one of two Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Punta Mita, surf in Sayulita or relax in the peaceful town of San Blas. Riviera Nayarit will be seeing a significant amount of touristic development in the coming years, so go visit before the crowds swarm in!

12) St. Kitts

St Kitts Sea Turtle

St. Kitts may be small, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked when planning your 2015 travels. This little island has plenty of history, which is visible in the capital city of Basseterre. It also has plenty of natural habitat to explore, from its rainforests to its coral reef systems like Sandy Point and Turtle Bar. See our Top 5 Things to See in St. Kitts for more ideas.

13) Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs has had a mini tourism boom in the last few years and its number of lodgings is estimated to be in the triple digits by mid-2015. In addition to its desert scenery, 10,000-foot mountains and evening spas, the city is now also home to the Architecture and Design Center, launched in late 2014 to preserve the city’s desert modernism movement.

14) Barbados

Foodies, there is one thing you should know for 2015: The food scene is absolutely blossoming in Barbados. Having just celebrated its 5th edition this past November, the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival has become a culinary success. In addition to wine and rum tastings, it features cooking demonstrations by international celebrity chefs such as Mark McEwan, Marcus Samuelsson and Anne Burrell. Stay tuned for the 2015 program.

15) Chile

Patagonia, Chile

It’s never too late to visit the end of the earth. After making a stop in the capital city of Santiago (which, by the way, has opened a number of new museums and art galleries in the last few years), most travellers will either head to the Atacama Desert or to trek through the bare, rigged landscapes of Patagonia (a.k.a “the end of the earth”). Another must for a 2015 trip to Chile is its brand new wine and food festival, which will take place in late September.

03 Aug

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Zipline Adventure in Costa Rica

August 3, 2011 | By |

A day at the spa turns into a canopy adventure, ziplining over the amazing rainforests of Costa Rica.

Our good friends at Tourista TV recently travelled to Costa Rica with Air Canada Vacations. This is one of their adventures.

 

03 Aug

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Springs Resort in Costa Rica

August 3, 2011 | By |

What trip to Costa Rica would be complete without some volcanic spa treatments?

Our good friends at Tourista TV recently travelled to Costa Rica with Air Canada Vacations. This is one of their adventures.

03 Aug

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Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort: Costa Rica

August 3, 2011 | By |

The Occidental Grand Papagayo is one of our most popular resorts in Costa Rica, offering everything from ziplining and volcanoes to quiet sunset walks on the beach.

Our good friends at Tourista TV recently travelled to Costa Rica with Air Canada Vacations. This is one of their adventures.

03 Aug

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Jugo de Cana: Liberia Costa Rica

August 3, 2011 | By |

A chance sighting in Liberia leads to a tasty surprise: fresh pressed sugar cane juice. Amazing.

Our good friends at Tourista TV recently travelled to Costa Rica with Air Canada Vacations. This is one of their adventures.

03 Aug

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La Choza Costa Rican Lunch

August 3, 2011 | By |

A quick stop for lunch turns into a feast of Costa Rican treats at La Choza de Laurel, a traditional restaurant. Our good friends at Tourista TV recently travelled to Costa Rica with Air Canada Vacations. This is one of their adventures.

03 Aug

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Ecotour Danaus: La Fortuna Costa Rica

August 3, 2011 | By |

The biodiversity of Costa Rica is one of it main attractions. Watch the video below to learn more about the diverse wildlife you can encounter in at the Danaus eco-centre.