Popular tour operator leading trips to Bosnia & Herzegovinia

G Adventures will soon be offering an extended program of trips to Bosnia and Herzegovina that are designed to support local communities, while showcasing the Balkan nation’s distinctive culture, nature and heritage.

The new trips are launching as the result of a collaboration between the U.S. Government’s USAID Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (USAID Turizam) initiative, the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council (GTTRC), and G Adventures.

Yves Marceau, vice-president of product for G Adventures, welcomed the partnership and opportunity to expand the operator’s trip offerings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The Balkans is a special part of the world that is growing in popularity as people move beyond traditional European destinations. As more travellers start to visit, it’s important that tourism develops the right way – a way that supports local people and communities. Travel is a two-way exchange, and we’re excited to introduce our new trips in 2025,” Marceau said.

A "model for tourism development"

Karl Wurster, Director of the Economic Development Office at USAID/BiH says the success of this collaboration will serve as a model for tourism development, not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but worldwide.

“We are pleased to launch our collaboration with G Adventures, a company that takes travellers from around the world to more than 100 countries. What’s most impressive is G Adventures’ commitment to community tourism, which will ensure the long-term sustainability of tourism development in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Wurster.

As part of the new partnership, representatives from G Adventures will be visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina to explore new destinations, services and experiences to expand existing itineraries and introduce new and extended trips. Here, USAID Turizam will introduce G Adventures to suppliers and service providers to discuss ideas for future on-trip experiences.

For more information on G Adventures, please visit www.gadventures.com.

You can now fly directly to Osaka, Japan from Toronto

Air Canada has unveiled a new seasonal, direct service between Toronto and Osaka.

Flights between Pearson International Airport and Kansai International Airport will run three times a week from June 17 to Oct. 25, 2024, onboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Paired with increased frequency on their popular Vancouver-Osaka flight, this will more than double Air Canada’s capacity to Osaka, compared to the previous summer.

Direct service to Japan

Japan continues to be an expanding market for the airline, which has steadily increased both their capacity and number of direct routes to accommodate the demand.

During peak summer season this year, Air Canada will offer more than 12,000 seats a week between Canada and Japan, resulting in an overall capacity increase of approximately 20 per cent compared with last summer.

Air Canada currently runs direct flights between:

  • Toronto-Osaka (KIX) *Seasonal
  • Toronto-Tokyo (HND)
  • Toronto-Tokyo (NRT)
  • Montreal-Tokyo (NRT)
  • Vancouver-Osaka (KIX) *Seasonal
  • Vancouver-Tokyo (NRT)

A vibrant city

Thanks to its continual growth and development, Japan is now more accessible than ever for Canadian tourists, opening a direct gateway for visitors to experience the land of the rising sun for themselves.

Osaka is a vibrant city best known for its food, fun and nightlife.  A convenient 30-minute train ride from Kansai International Airport, it is a gateway not only to the Kansai region but to the rest of Western Japan, with convenient access to the many attractions in Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Nagasaki and beyond.

ARHOME is a design-forward guest suite like no other

Experiential hospitality brand arcana is excited to announce the launch of its infinite arcana experience with ARHOME, design-forward guest dwellings delivered fully assembled, available for individual purchase.

To celebrate the launch, ARHOME is offering an introductory limited release of 25 guest suites starting today, built in Canada and delivered Spring 2024.

All elements of ARHOME are intentionally designed to orientate guests towards nature while ensuring complete comfort. The combination of fine craftsmanship, hospitality grade finishes, and materials chosen with sustainability at the forefront, results in a one-of-a kind, fully assembled, prefabricated alternative to those looking to add guest accommodations.

About ARHOME

ARHOME is 275 square feet and designed with hospitality in mind. It can be your very own private weekend hideaway, the perfect guest house or short-term rental and is custom built in Canada and arrives fully assembled. 

ARHOME starts at $225,000 CAD and can be delivered and shipped across Canada within eight to twelve weeks from purchase. Hookup to electrical, water and waste is required for use.

Canadian-designed and built, ARHOME is conceptualized with sustainability in mind by award-winning Vancouver-based architect, Michael Leckie of Leckie Studio and built by Oakville-based Hummingbird Hill Homes and Toronto-based Studio Morro.

 

About ARHOME

ARHOME highlights include:

  • Red oak interiors, heated floors and air conditioning
  • Premium kitchen appliances: Porter Charles stove-top, oven and hood range, complemented by a whisper-quiet, 4.1 cubic feet built-in Vitrifrigo fridge
  • Built-in Sonos speaker system, controlled through smart panels
  • Rain shower and private water closet
  • Lunos system that filters air and eliminates the need for in-wall ducting
  • Discrete storage solutions
  • Choice of three exterior finishes: Corten steel and natural or black stained wood cladding. The arcana iconic mirrored steel cladding is available upon request.

For pricing and additional information, visit findarcana.com.

This Valentine’s Day getaway in Saint Lucia will cost you $250,000

This Valentine’s Day, Windjammer Landing Resort & Residences is taking over-the-top romance to new heights with a private charter to Saint Lucia from anywhere in the world. Couples will feel like they are on Cloud 9 as they jet set to one of the world’s most romantic islands.

This excusive Valentine’s Day on Cloud 9 Package begins with a personalized private charter experience on Planet 9 Private Air, that includes a customized culinary presentation, over-the-top luxury amenities, and even a few surprises along the way, as couples relax aboard their very own private luxury jet.

Lovers will be swept away to the luxurious Windjammer Landing for an all-inclusive stay in a two-bedroom Ocean Point Residence with private infinity pool, breathtaking views, and a dedicated 24/7 personal butler. 

This once in a lifetime romantic getaway will include a personalized itinerary with both exhilarating and relaxing experiences such as an island helicopter tour, candlelit dinner, private yacht excursion, in-villa spa retreat, and other VIP island experiences! 

To celebrate the milestone, couples will take home a personalized gift of diamond jewelry, along with photos and videos from a dedicated photographer who will capture every moment on camera to remember the experience for years to come. 

About the package

Valentine’s Day on Cloud 9 Package includes the following treats, ensuring the ultimate dream getaway experience.

  • Private jet charter with Planet 9: The journey begins with a seamless arrival via a private jet from anywhere worldwide, ensuring a lavish start to the ultimate romantic getaway.
  • S-night stay in an Ocean Point Residence: Guests will feel at home in a newly built Ocean Point Residence featuring a private infinity pool, breathtaking views of Labrelotte Bay, a full kitchen, and a dedicated 24/7 personal butler.
  • Luxury all-inclusive experience: Indulge in unlimited food & drinks at seven restaurants and four bars, luxury spirits and wines by the glass, access to motorized and non-motorized water sports, and more.
  • Island Helicopter Tour: Soar above Saint Lucia in a private helicopter tour, exploring hidden gems and capturing the scenic beauty from the sky.
  • Candlelit Cliffside Dinner: Delight in an intimate dinner perched on a cliffside, surrounded by the gentle sounds of the ocean and a private concert, with a personalized menu curated by Windjammer Landing’s world-renowned chefs.
  • Private Yacht Expedition: Set sail on a private yacht, complete with a gourmet chef, personal crew, and a sunset cruise to see the world-famous Pitons, one of the most secluded and romantic spots in the Caribbean.
  • Exclusive In-Villa Spa Retreat: Indulge in a day of pure bliss at Windjammer Landing’s award-winning spa with couples massages, rejuvenating facials, and a hand-crafted bath soak experience.
  • VIP Island Excursions: Experience VIP access to the best events, attractions, and excursions on the island, tailored for couples to create a truly unforgettable adventure. 
  • Diamond Jewelry Gift: Each couple will receive a bespoke piece of diamond jewelry, adding a touch of elegance to symbolize the eternal bond of their love.
  • Personalized Photography and Videography: A dedicated team of photographers will capture every moment of the romantic getaway to ensure couples’ leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

Starting at $250,000 USD, this extraordinary package promises an unrivaled blend of opulence, romance, luxury, and personalized adventure at the Windjammer Landing Resort & Residences.

Travel must be booked by Feb. 1, 2024. Reservations can be made by calling the resort directly at 1-877-522-0722 or email reservations@windjammer-landing.com

Luxury resort in Antigua adds 12 stunning overwater bungalows

Blue Diamond Resorts’ Royalton CHIC Antigua, set to open in April 2024, has added 12 luxury overwater suites.

The Overwater Suites at Royalton CHIC Antigua will mark the second set of these type of luxury suites in the Blue Diamond Resorts portfolio, building upon the remarkable success of their initial six Chairman Overwater Bungalows at Royalton Antigua in 2019.

The Presidential Overwater Bungalow will offer a spacious 1,912 ft² one-bedroom haven with state-of-the-art amenities and a generous living room area featuring a glass floor providing stunning views of the ocean. The Luxury Junior Suite Overwater Bungalow will be a perfect blend of comfort and sophistication. This fully equipped 1,138 ft² suite over the ocean boasts a private terrace, plunge pool, and direct access to the ocean.

For an unparalleled experience, the Chairman Overwater Bungalow Two Bedroom Suite will provide an expansive and luxurious retreat featuring two rooms, terraces, two separate plunge pools, overwater hammocks, and direct access to the sea.

Positioned directly above the ocean, it includes a living room with a crystal floor for mesmerizing sea views, a bar, kitchenette, dining area, three bathrooms, and cutting-edge technology in a 3,049 ft² space.

Exclusive club access

All Overwater Suites will include access to an upgraded Diamond Club with features and amenities such as seamless check-in, access to exclusive areas, and the coveted personal butler service to further enhance your stay.

For more information or to book your next vacation, visit www.royaltonchicresorts.com.

Park Hyatt has opened a luxury hotel close to Marrakech’s famed medina

Park Hyatt Marrakech is now open, marking the debut of the Park Hyatt brand in Morocco and growing the brand’s presence in Africa, joining Park Hyatt Zanzibar and the forthcoming Park Hyatt Johannesburg, slated for 2025.

Uniquely located 15 kilometres from Marrakech’s historic Medina district, the 19-acre resort is situated in an exquisite, off-the-beaten path location at the base of the Atlas Mountains. Surrounded by palm trees, olive trees and jacaranda trees, Park Hyatt Marrakech sits adjacent to the magnificent Al Maaden Golf resort, exclusively offering guests convenient access to the 18-hole course.

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About Park Hyatt Marrakech

Park Hyatt Marrakech stands apart from other luxury hotels in the market through a distinctly residential, modern, and stylish take on Arab-Berber heritage.

Composed of 16 pavilions arranged around a central, zeolite patio, Park Hyatt Marrakech encapsulates the personalized, understated luxury of the global brand with unexpected, hyperlocal experiences for guests – from breakfast in a hot-air balloon in the Three Atlas Valleys, to dinner in a Bedouin tent in the Agafay desert, to airport transfers in luxury electric cars, and more.

Renowned Marrakech-based architect Imaad Rahmouni drew inspiration from Arab-Berber traditions to create a luxurious contemporary design for Park Hyatt Marrakech.

 

The 130 residentially inspired guestrooms and suites are among the most spacious in Marrakech, and promise privacy and tranquility, with Moroccan touches throughout.

Each guestroom features traditionally woven Berber carpets in pure wool and headboards representing the Tataoui motif (a local roofing technique made of laurel branches) alongside modern works of art sourced via Ifitry Artists’ Residence.

Ammenities & more

In addition to convenient golf access, the hotel’s vast, 23,000+-square-foot spa is an ode to Morocco’s culture of hammam rituals and holistic therapies. Featuring products from Sodashi, a brand hand-crafted in Australia and Nectarome, a complete range of high-quality natural products derived from Moroccan traditions, the professional spa team can recommend personalized treatments.

Guests can stay on track of their fitness goals in the 2,153-square-foot fitness centre and yoga studio.

 

The expansive resort also includes an outdoor heated pool, a family-friendly outdoor pool, and an indoor heated pool beneath a vaulted ceiling, each offering unique valley and mountain vistas.

Futuristic hotel opens in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert

The Board of Directors of NEOM, the sustainable regional development taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, recently announced Epicon, its latest luxury coastal tourism destination, including a residential offering.

Located on the Gulf of Aqaba, Epicon aims to set a new standard of hospitality and architecture. Rising from NEOM’s desert landscape like a glistening mirage, the property will feature two striking towers, one 225 meters tall and one reaching 275 meters.

The towers will be home to an ultra-premium 41 key hotel and luxury residences that comprise of 14 suites and apartments. A short distance from the hotel is the Epicon resort, which blends tranquility with indulgence and features 120 rooms and 45 stunning residential beach villas.

A gateway to the future

Designed as a gateway to the future, Epicon provides an opportunity to escape the stresses of the everyday.

Whether relaxing at the beach club, visiting the spa for bespoke wellness treatments, exploring the surrounding nature, participating in one of the many watersports on offer, or dining at destination restaurants for an unforgettable culinary experience, Epicon has been conceived to meet the full array of guest and resident needs.

The guest experience

A highly attractive visitor destination and an optimum place to live and thrive, Epicon’s guests and residents can expect a truly immersive and life-affirming experience. The luxurious residences and beach villas aim to deliver new levels of livability through cutting-edge innovations, world-class services and first-class experiences, positioning the resort as a benchmark for iconic living.

Guests and residents of Epicon will enjoy unrestricted access to world-class facilities, complemented by views of one of the most desirable shorelines in NEOM. Amenities include a state-of-the-art gym, library, workspaces, pools and lounges.

Bahamas bound: life on the island beyond swimming with the pigs

It’s my first day in Grand Bahama — the northernmost island of the Bahamas archipelago — and I’m already ignoring the age-old advice not to be lured into a complete stranger’s house.

Tempted by the promise of a home-cooked meal, I’m here to meet Colette Williams, a host with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism’s People-to-People program, which is all about pairing travellers with a local ambassador for an authentic Bahamian experience. 

“I think that’s what I was made to do — just to welcome people to our sun, sand and sea,” said Williams, who has been a host with the program for 19 years.

“I love people. I feel that if I can make one person have a memorable experience of the Bahamas, I would not have lived in vain, so my goal is to make sure everyone has a memorable experience of my home and to share the authentic experience of Grand Bahamian hospitality.”

Colette Williams

Bringing authenticity back

In her backyard, Williams proceeds to set up an elaborate spread of stewed chicken, steamed fish, peas and rice, warm potato salad, baked macaroni and cheese and homemade iced tea. Today’s batch is infused with hibiscus. A yellow tablecloth spread across the dining table echoing the words Bahamas matches her blue dress, which also has the words Bahamas printed all over it. 

Williams, who formerly worked in the hotel industry, said tourists rarely get a chance to see how Bahamians live.

“You can drive around the tourist route and never even see a house,” she said, noting that she enjoys sharing authentic Bahamian dishes with visitors. “When you get food in a hotel, it isn’t as authentic as home cooking. There’s no cooking like home cooking. You put a face to the food, there’s a story behind it.”

The immersive program pairs interested travellers with locally-vetted ambassadors who are matched based on various interests.

“It’s a program that’s been in place for more than 40 years,” Latia Duncombe, Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, told Offshore. “It’s a day in the life of a Bahamian. You’re moving away from the commercial, touristic components and you’re getting immersed into culture — whatever the local does is what the visitor does. It is true culture; it’s who we are as a people. It’s being prepared to share that authentic element of being a Bahamian, something you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”

Connecting with locals

Thirteen kilometres off the shore of Grand Bahama, I’ve connected with another Bahamian resident who is just as passionate about the destination and sharing his knowledge.

Although the Bahamas is known around the world as the place where tourists can come to swim with pigs, I’m here for a different kind of wild encounter — to meet the man known as the pied piper of stingrays.

From the moment Keith Cooper of West End Ecology Tours steps off the boat at Sandy Cay, a dozen stingrays with names like Stubby, Hard Wire, Lunatic, Scratch, Big Momma and Little Momma, instinctively swarm him.

Keith Cooper

“They’re touching my leg with their sensors because they know who I am, they remember who I am and because of the special bond I have with them. They trust me as much as I trust them,” he said, adding that stingrays often get a bad rep for being dangerous. “More than 9,000 visitors have participated in the Stingray Experience Tour and no one has ever been stung by a stingray… when the protocols are followed, guests will have one of the most unique encounters with marine life they have ever experienced.”

Before launching West End Ecology Tours, Cooper stumbled upon the stingrays by accident during a fishing expedition in 2006. “During the stopover, I discarded unused fishing bait over the side of the boat and within minutes the boat was surrounded by 15 stingrays feeding off the bottom of the shallow water where the boat was anchored at the beach,” he explained.

Since then, he’s returned to the spot to study the stingrays. In 2009, Cooper turned it into a business that now offers multiple tours, including snorkelling trips to underwater boat wrecks and reef fishing experiences. The Stingray Experience Tour remains his best-selling excursion.

According to Cooper, stingrays can display sentient behaviour and will show off their unique personalities. “There are two alpha female stingrays that dominate the fever. Big Momma is the most dominant member of the group and often displays her displeasure when too many rays come near me during the introduction and demonstration phase of the tour,” he said, noting she’ll use a decoy tactic to draw the other stingrays away so that she can consume the fish provided during the demonstration phase.

Another stingray, Hugger, got its name from the “hugs” she gives Cooper upon approach. “Guests watching from the boat are awestruck when they observe Hugger sitting in my lap, waiting patiently to receive a fish,” he said.

It’s Junkanoo time 

On Nassau, New Providence, where major resorts like Atlantis, Goldwynn Resort & Residences, Sandals Royal Bahamian and Baha Mar are located, Arlene Nash Ferguson has made it her life’s mission to showcase the longstanding Bahamian celebration known as Junkanoo. 

Based in her childhood home, the Educulture Junkanoo Museum is lined with colourful displays and costumes displaying the evolution of the cultural affair. A former British colony from 1629 to 1973, in the Bahamas, Junkanoo began roughly 200 years ago, when members of the African diaspora, including enslaved Bahamians, were granted three days to observe Christmas.

Arlene Nash Ferguson

“They said, ‘let’s use these precious three days to recreate our festivals from home. It’s time to renew the spirit and just in case anybody tries to stop us, we will wait until the night and off we go,’” said Nash Ferguson, who has been taking part in Junkanoo since she was four years old. 

Although the residents of the time were mixed by culture, she said the festivals wound up sharing several things in common, including instruments like goatskin drums, bells and elaborate costumes. “When you covered your face, it symbolized the presence of our ancestors,” Nash Ferguson said. “In these isolated islands, leaves, feathers, shells, seaweed, anything Indigenous becomes your decoration.”

Nash Ferguson shared that costumes continue to be made from paper as an original sign of defiance because in the time of slavery on the islands “by law people were not permitted to learn to read and write.” More than just a tradition, she said Bahamians are passionate about Junkanoo and work on their costumes all year long in their spare time once the theme for the following year’s festival is announced. Typically, the costumes are made using a cardboard base that’s covered in layers of tissue paper and often include elaborate headpieces.

“Two hundred years ago in the dark of the night at Christmas time, Bahamians said ‘Man, we survived, let’s celebrate life’ and they told their children never to forget,” she explained. “And ladies and gentlemen, right up to Christmas gone, we who are their children, we continue to do it. Today, we call it the Junkanoo festival — at 10 o’clock Christmas night we shut down Bay Street, hit the road dancing, still to the music of drums and bells.” 

After outfitting my small group of travel companions with cowbells, whistles and drums, Nash Ferguson led us into a practice run of a Junkanoo simulation.  

“The costumes are magnificent; we have worked months on them and we can’t wait to get out there to show them off. We’re going to out music and out dance every other group because we are going to win,” she said, before blowing her whistle loudly. “Line up, everybody ready? Who we is? Junkanoo! Bark like a dog. Woof, woof.”

The end result is a far cry from the organized rhythm of an actual parade, but we give it our all, joining in with off-beat drumming and what could only be described as tone deaf whistling. What we lack in musical ability, we make up in spirit and effort.


This story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of OFFSHORE. To read the full version, click here.

On a trip to Coastal Mississippi, explore 100KM of the best seafood

Indulge your senses and embark on a delectable journey along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where culinary creativity meets coastal, southern charm.

From sizzling grills featuring unique seafood combinations to the elegant ambiance of fine dining establishments, Coastal Mississippi has become an epicenter of delight. Across the three vibrant counties along the coast of Mississippi, culinary masters blend local flavors with international flair – creating a symphony of tastes that reflect the region’s distinctive style.

“Across our 62-miles of shorelines, there are many culinary gems including flavors from around the world,” said Judy Young, CEO of Coastal Mississippi Tourism. “From fresh-caught seafood to international cuisine and southern favourites, visitors have an array of options to choose from.”

World class seafood

Nestled on the serene banks of the Jourdan River, Jourdan River Steamer offers an enchanting dining experience, combining vintage elegance with contemporary culinary artistry.

With its panoramic views of the river, guests can indulge in a menu featuring fresh Gulf Coast seafood and other culinary delights, such as Royal Red Shrimp, Snow Crab and more.

Hook Gulf Coast Cuisine portrays culinary excellence on the Gulf Coast, offering a remarkable dining experience that seamlessly blends coastal charm with gourmet innovation. Located in Pass Christian, this restaurant boasts a menu brimming with locally sourced seafood, featuring fresh catch escabeche, pecan crusted mangrove snapper, seared Tuna, and more – all capturing the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Southern favourites

Inside a beautiful replica of an 1820s style historic home featuring salvaged bricks and a grand central chimney, The Chimney’s Restaurant in Gulfport is known for its fresh seafood & steak dinners.

Travellers can gaze upon the lush greenery, majestic oaks, and Gulfport waterfront – all while enjoying an extensive menu of southern comfort favorites and chef specialties.

In Bay St. Louis, travellers can visit The Sycamore House, a pair of 19th-century Acadian cottages on the National Register of Historic Places, for delectable dinner, brunch, and dessert options. Chef’s Stella LeGardeur and Michael Eastham have curated a menu to tempt every guest with dishes like their savory crab meat and mushroom cheesecake.

To plan your perfect Coastal Mississippi culinary escape,
visit coastalmississippi.com to learn more.

This cruise line is now offering 22-day trips in South America

Bookings are now open for Holland America Line’s 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica season.

Featuring a series of longer cruises up to 22 days, guests can experience the region’s captivating blend of diverse cultures, breathtaking natural landscapes and rich historical heritage — including 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

From November 2025 through March 2026, Oosterdam cruises between San Antonio (Santiago), Chile, and either Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Iconic sites

The itineraries offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for travellers, showcasing the iconic sites of South America like Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu and Torres del Paine National Park, along with Antarctica’s memorable scenery and wildlife. 

Oosterdam sails in Antarctica

Holland America Line 2025–2026 South America cruises visit 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, including major tourism attractions like the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. 

Authentic experiences 

On South America and Antarctic cruises, Holland America Line brings local flavors on board. Guests enjoy fresh, locally sourced specialties such as Chilean salmon, stuffed empanadas, and world-renowned wines including Malbec, Carménère, Torrontés and more.

On immersive shore excursions, guests can visit an indigenous Emberá tribe, meet a real Chilean huaso (cowboy), learn to craft a traditional Panama hat or enjoy an intimate dinner at an Argentine “closed-door restaurant.”

For more information, visit hollandamerica.com.