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St-Kitts Archives - Air Canada Vacations

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.

17 Oct

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Top 5 Things to See in St. Kitts

October 17, 2014 | By |

The West Indian island of St. Kitts may be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in natural beauty and a rich history. Here are the top 5 things to see in St. Kitts:

Frigate Bay Beach

Frigate Bay Beach

If you’re heading to St. Kitts for the beach, then South Frigate Bay should be on your radar. It is probably St. Kitts’ most visited beach, boasting golden sands, warm water and a strip of bars and restaurants that particularly come to life on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. For something more low key (i.e. less touristy), you’ll want to check out North Frigate Bay, though the water there tends to be a little rougher.

Basseterre

St Kitts Circus square

Basseterre, meaning “lowland” in French, was the first French town in the Caribbean and is the capital of St. Kitts. If you’re looking to sightsee here, a good first stop would be the National Museum, housed in the 1894 Treasury Building that was built from hand-cut volcanic limestone. Architecture buffs will likely appreciate St. George’s Anglican Church and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. If you just want to take it easy, then lounge with the locals in Independence Square or by the tall green clock tower in Circus square.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

St Kitts Brimstone Hill Fortress canon

St. Kitts has some pretty outstanding mountain and sea views, and its main military site is no exception: Brimstone Hill Fortress’ location atop a hill provides exceptional sea views. The fortress is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due in large part to its well preserved 17th– and 18th– century military architecture. Known as the “Gibraltar of the West Indies,” it was built by slaves under British rule and served as a major British garrison in battles against the French.

Rainforests

St Kitts Ziplining Rainforest

Approximately one quarter of St. Kitts is covered by rainforests, which boast an array of tropical and medicinal plants, waterfalls, several bird species and the black-faced, grey-haired Vervet monkeys. Hiking, horseback riding and ziplining are the most popular ways to explore the island’s ecosystems.

Coral reef systems

St Kitts Sea Turtle

The beauty of St. Kitts also extends below sea level. If you’re willing to plunge into the underwater world, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with popular diving sites. Among several spots are the Black Coral Reef, which is lined with black coral trees; Sandy Point, a National Marine Park where you can navigate through swim-through canyons; and Turtle Bar, where you can observe, as the reef’s name suggests, sea turtles.

 

Want to see more about St. Kitts? Check out other activities on the island.

 

28 Jul

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What to do in St. Kitts & Nevis

July 28, 2011 | By |

Must Experience

St. Kitts Island Tour

Begin the day with shopping in Basseterre. Next, take a scenic drive to the Caribelle Batik, followed by a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Brimstone Hill, and Black Rocks, a dramatic rock formation built up from lava flow.

Rainforest Hike

Hike through a beautiful section of the rainforest and learn about local medicinal plants and trees from a knowledgeable guide. You may even see Vervet monkeys, birds and colourful butterflies. (St. Kitts & Nevis)

Sky Safari Zipline Tour

Fly among the trees. Begin with a complete orientation, and then you're off! Enjoy spectacular views high above the valley floor and finish with a refreshing dip in a natural river pool. (St. Kitts)

Must see

South East Peninsula Road

One of the most scenic drives, this peninsula road winds up and down lush hills, past sweeping stretches of beach and breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean.

Must do

The Public Market

On Bay Road, near the ferry dock, stands the Public Market. Enjoy a trip there on Friday evenings and early Saturday mornings, the best times to visit.

Must try

Lobster

A favourite with both locals and visitors, freshly caught and grilled lobster is so succulent it needs no seasonings and practically melts in your mouth.

Must bring Home

Brinley Gold Rum

After more than 300 years of sugar cane farming, the people of St. Kitts (or Kittitians) know how to make some outstanding rum. Bring some home and remember the islands.

Nevis

The nearby, enchanting island of Nevis fills visitors with a charm and tranquility that takes you back to a time when things were simpler, when life was more peaceful, when stress was just a word, not a way of life.