This tour operator is launching a bunch of private jet tours to some of the hottest destinations

Remote Lands, the luxury tour operator offering bespoke travel and small-group private jet journeys is proud to announce their newest expedition within their remarkable travel collection. From Jan. 21, 2023, to Feb. 4, 2023, Remote Lands will offer an extraordinary itinerary through the United States, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Throughout this 14-night journey, just 14 guests will fly aboard a gorgeous Global Express 6000 jet and stay in five sumptuous AMAN properties for a magnificent travel experience.

New York (Jan. 21-23)

Guests will begin their journey at the newly opened Aman New York in New York City, home to world-class museums, rousing Broadway performances and acclaimed restaurants and nightlife. With 83 guest rooms and suites designed by renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy in the iconic Crown Building in the heart of midtown Manhattan at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, guests will enjoy their very own metropolitan adventure. Itinerary options will include unmissable stops to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), Central Park, Empire State Building, a private helicopter tour and much more.

Bermuda and Turks & Caicos (Jan. 23-26)

En route to Turks and Caicos is a touch down on the British colonial island of Bermuda, where guests will explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. George Old Town and walk on the incredible pink sand beaches.

 

Delving deeper into the tropics is Turks and Caicos, at the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago with the some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs and beaches. Guests will have flexibility in choosing from an array of activities on both land and sea, including house reef snorkeling, kiteboarding, hobie cat sailing, yacht excursions and more. A beachside cocktail party with a well-known marine biologist as well as a kayak eco-tour spotlighting the iguana sanctuary and coastal ecology of the island rounds out the stay. For this leg of the journey, guests will stay in Amanyara’s fabulous Pavilions nestled amidst 18,000 acres of tranquil nature preserves.

Dominican Republic (Jan. 26 – 29)

The third stop on the jet adventure is the Dominican Republic, one of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries touting rich, cultural experiences perfect for the curious traveler. Itinerary highlights include immersive day trips into the destination’s very best gems: Colonial Santo Domingo, a quaint fifteenth-century city and Puerto Plata, the oldest town in the area that offers spectacular city and coast views. Additional options include a private ceviche cooking class with a top local chef as well as reef and wreck diving in Sosua amidst 20 different dive sites. To celebrate the very best of the traditions within the Dominican Republic, a private rum and cigar class led by Juan Carlos Albert of Arturo Fuento will educate guests on how to blend, roll and distinguish cigars.

 

Guests will stay at Amanera, a luxurious sanctuary located around a verdant jungle with panoramic ocean views, perched above the golden sands of Playa Grande Beach.

 

Canyon Point, Utah (Jan.29 – Feb. 1)

A gorgeous vestige of the wild West, Canyon Point is cradled by a staggering landscape of dramatic canyons, mountains, rapids, gorges and desert, with traces of human life dating back 10,000 years. Here, the extraordinary accommodations of Amangiri await travelers, serving as the perfect backdrop of unobstructed desert and canyon views. Activities pay homage to the destination, including a three-hour canyon hike led by a Navajo guide, and petroglyph and ancient culture exploration with an expert guide at Broken Arrow Cave to learn about 6,000 years’ worth of local history. Additional activities include via ferrata climbing, Amangiri’s on-property rock-climbing site; Zion National Park; UTV excursions; hot air balloon rides and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. To wind down, spa treatments, cocktails and dinners inspired by Navajo tribal cuisine and an array of resort activities await. 

 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Feb. 1 – 4)

The final stop in this great North American journey is Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a destination beckoning nostalgia of the American West and flanked by dramatic mountain ranges. Amangani, meaning ‘peaceful home,’ abides by its namesake by sitting at the nexus of extraordinary wilderness full of abundant wildlife. The choices of activities are plentiful, including skiing across a range spanning over 2,500 acres; snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park; dog sledding; heli-skiing; a private tour of Yellowstone National Park; sunset sleigh rides and more.

 

“My favorite itineraries include lots of scenic and cultural diversity, which Adventures in the Americas has in abundance across five different countries,” said Catherine Heald, CEO and Co-Founder of Remote Lands. “We visit tropical islands, snowcapped mountains, remote deserts, big cities, charming villages, UNESCO World Heritage sites and great natural wonders of the world aboard a gorgeous Global 6000 private jet.”

 

The Adventures in the Americas journey will be led by Remote Lands’ CEO and Co-founder, Catherine Heald, on January 21 – February 4, 2023. This trip is priced at $112,888 per person, with a single supplement of $39,888. Children are welcome. While Remote Lands will not require proof of vaccination, travelers must abide by all local government health protocols within each destination. To learn about the Americas journey and other luxe excursions, please visit www.remotelands.com.

6 of the coolest things to do in the Caribbean this summer

For many countries in the Caribbean, this summer marks the return of many significant events that were postponed due to the pandemic. From music festivals to foodie experiences, and even self-care indulgence, here are six fun experiences to try in the Caribbean.

ANTIGUA

Running July 27 to Aug. 2, Antigua’s Carnival is back after a two-year hiatus. First celebrated in 1957, the week-long event kicks off with an opening celebration alongside the annual pageant, Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show. Aug. 1 is Carnival Monday, and it also marks Emancipation Day. Antigua and Barbuda have observed the abolition of slavery since 1834 and much of Antigua’s Carnival festivities commemorate the earliest abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean. A series of pre-festival events kick off in St. John’s, Antigua starting July 23, but the main event is the colourful Parade of the Bands which takes place on the last day.

https://visitantiguabarbuda.com 

GRENADA

Deeply rooted in ancestral traditions, Spicemas is one of the largest summer festivals in Grenada. Starting with a month-long series of pre-carnival events, including soca competitons the Traditional Mas Festival (July 23) is a showcase and competition of traditional masquerade bands from all over the country. J’ouvert, from the French ‘jour ouvert’ meaning ‘day open’, is the pre-dawn parade (Aug. 8) and is the first of the street events. Gathering well before dawn on J’ouvert morning, revellers cover their bodies in paint, oil, tar, mud, molasses and even chocolate. Monday Night Mas is held that evening, and starting at dusk, large bands of revellers in brightly coloured or neon t-shirts and light-up paraphernalia parade through the streets. Spicemas 2022 concludes with the Parade of the Bands on Aug.9 puregrenada.com/events/spicemas-2022/ 

JAMAICA 

Running July 18 to July 23, those who travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica this summer won’t want to miss out on one of the hottest events of the year. Reggae SumFest kicks off on July 18 with a free street festival at Harmony Beach Park. A series of pre-event parties follow until Friday, July 22 which marks the kickoff of the main festival, where a series of talented acts will perform over the course of two evenings. reggaesumfest.com

MEXICO

UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya, the redefined, adults only all-inclusive hotel located in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, is back with its fourth annual gastronomy series, Superbia Summer. From July 11 to Aug. 21, the hotel’s multi-sensory experience will feature an all women roster of chefs, mixologists, and local artisans all coming together to showcase their talent from different regions of Mexico. Each week will feature one chef, one mixologist, and one artisan implementing their unique twist to transform the hotel’s experiences. https://www.unicohotelrivieramaya.com 

ST. MARTIN

Located in Grand Case, St. Martin, Tijon Perfumerie specializes in hosting custom perfume-making classes. Run by owner John Berglund, and his wife, Cyndi, Tijon bottles all of its perfumes by hand, and houses a perfume organ that contains more than 300 pure, essential oils. Guests will select three essential oils that target the top, middle, and base notes required to craft a signature scent. There are a variety of classes to choose from, including private classes and group classes. After naming their perfect perfume, guests can also opt to have the fragrance added to massage oils, lotions and creams, and even home and linen mists. tijon.com 

ST. LUCIA

Soak up the benefits of a detoxifying mud bath in Soufrière, St Lucia with a trip to the Sulphur Springs. Located at the site of a dormant volcano that last erupted in the 1700s, the mud baths are a popular tourist attraction thanks to the varying health benefits the mud provides. Said to alleviate a range of skin conditions including sun burns, eczema, arthritis, sore joints, and more, the sulphur springs are also conveniently located at the only drive-in volcano in the world! After visitors are finished soaking, they can wash off and enjoy a refreshing rainforest bath and a visit to a 15-metre tall waterfall. sulphurspringstlucia.com 

ST. KITTS & NEVIS

Taking place from June 23 to June 25, the St. Kitts Music Festival is back after a brief hiatus last year due to the pandemic. This year marks the 25th annual version of the event. Over the course of three days, a talented list of international and regional acts including Ashanti, Sean Paul and Keyshia Cole are all set to take the stage. In addition to the music, festival-goers can enjoy plenty of activities like beach parties, boat rides, and unforgettable afterparties. 

Stkittsmusicfestival.com




Three of the best places to go hiking in Antigua and Barbuda

There are endless reasons visiting the Caribbean sister islands of Antigua and Barbuda should top your bucket list. The profound natural beauty of this destination is as good a reason as any: with its numerous white-sand beaches, lush rainforests, and warm tropical waters, it is easy to fall in love with the outdoors of Antigua and Barbuda. 
 
Of course, visiting Antigua and Barbuda is the ideal location for some R&R on the beach…but who’s to say relaxation can’t take the form of a scenic hike? After all, being in nature is known to reduce stress! Whether you’re looking for a casual stroll or something more challenging, Antigua and Barbuda has the perfect trail for you!
 

Wallings Nature Reserve

 
Wallings Nature Reserve is more than just a beautiful hiking spot. This storied reserve is a community-managed National Park that focuses on sustainability while protecting Antigua’s biodiversity. Wallings Nature Reserve consists of roughly 1,680 acres of rainforest in the Shekerley Mountains with many walking trails intertwined throughout the park. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or rarely go for walks, there is a trail for everyone at Wallings Nature Reserve. The abundance of plants and trees makes Wallings Nature Reserve an ideal destination for those looking to reconnect with nature. The trails throughout the reserve vary in distance, ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours to complete. Whichever route you choose, make sure to take your time; you’d hate to walk by a mango tree and miss out on a mid-hike snack! 
 
Guests can book a guided tour at Wallings Nature Reserve on their website, and the cost of the tours varies depending on which guided hike you choose. There is a $6 USD entrance fee to access the park area of the reserve, or if you wish to use any of the hiking trails and park, the cost is $15 USD. If you give 48 hours of notice, Wallings can prepare lunch and a drink for guests.
 

Green Castle Hill National Park

 
Green Castle Hill National Park is known for spectacular scenic views and captivating rock formations jutting out from the slopes. Green Castle Hill is located next to the village of Jennings, on the west side of Antigua near its volcanic highlands. The hill’s highest point reaches 565 feet above sea level, making the trek up the hill slightly steep but nothing a beginner hiker can’t handle. The rock formations known as megaliths, which are found along the slopes, contribute to the popularity of this hike. Megaliths are prehistoric rock structures, and the ones located at Green Castle Hill are said to be set up by pre-Columbian tribes who likely used the stones for ceremonial purposes. So, if you want to simultaneously cross a history lesson and a hike off your vacation to-do list, this is the sport for you.
 

Mount Obama

 
If you want to take in some of the most incredible views and hike through what feels like a tropical rainforest, consider making the trek up Mount Obama; and yes, it is named after the former U.S president! Mount Obama, formerly Boggy Peak, is Antigua’s highest point offering panoramic views of the island and, on clear days, the neighbouring islands of St. Kitts and Montserrat. Although the hike is somewhat strenuous, the journey through a canopy of trees to reach a 360-degree view of the island is worth the sweat. Altogether, the hike is about 6.6km long and will take a few hours to go up and down. Completing the hike up Mount Obama is rewarding and you’ll deserve a relaxing drink at the beach when you’re done. Luckily, Turners Beach is only 20 minutes away making it a perfect spot to grab a bite and recharge.
 
Antigua and Barbuda offer many different trails that provide unbelievable views. Besides the three walking trails listed, there are many other remarkable destinations for walking and hiking. Any of Antigua and Barbuda’s national parks make for great adventures. So, rather than experiencing Antigua and Barbuda solely from the comfort of your resort, go out and explore the blissful creation the twin-island nation has to offer.

Bottoms up! Just in time for summer, a new take on a Cuban classic

Maria Teresa Bacallao Maceyras is inviting Varadero vacationers to quench their thirst in the same manner that Ernest Hemingway would during his many years in Cuba.

Tour guide Bacallao Maceyras notes that Varadero has seen the opening of the Floridita bar, patterned after the famed watering hole in Havana.

The community has had a Bodeguita del Medio — again modelled after a famous Havana namesake bar — for close to a decade.

Hemingway used to say during his Cuba time that he’d visit El Floridita for his daiquiris and the Bodeguita del Medio for his mojitos.

“Ernest Hemingway didn’t really visit Varadero,” Bacallao Maceyras reports.

Nevertheless, Hemingway — who loved Cuban cocktails — would appreciate the two additions to Varadero’s bar scene, she adds.

El Floridita’s Varadero bar has a metal bust of Hemingway and staff sport the same red aprons their Havana counterparts do.

Pedro de la Conception says those visiting Varadero’s Bodeguita del Medio will quickly be made aware that they aren’t the first visitors, with its walls coated with a staggering number of signatures of previous guests in the same manner that its Havana counterpart is.

Indeed, the bar once removed thousands of names because the walls were becoming overwhelmed by signatures, he says. “Imagine 25,000 a year every year for nine years.”

Cuban music will be heard in a structure that has light blue walls and a red-tile roof, and displays a large Cuban flag.

And de la Concepcion is confident that those who stop at Varadero’s Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito will leave convinced that they got great value for their money.

“This is the mojito place,” he confidently states. “The best mojitos and the best restaurant are in the Bodeguita del Medio.”

An all-inclusive luxury resort just opened in Curacao and it has a two-level infinity pool

Sandals Royal Curaçao – the 16th property in the Sandals Resorts portfolio – officially opened to guests on June 1, 2022.

Sandals Royal Curaçao is located within the exclusive, 3,000-acre Santa Barbara estate – just 15 miles from the Curaçao International Airport.

Its signature, west-facing position on the southernmost part of the island authentically intertwines nature with the resort experience, while capturing one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular sunsets.

At the heart of the property, couples can bask under the sun at the brand’s first ever bi-level Dos Awa Infinity Pool, with views overlooking the Spanish Water and the rugged mountain landscape beyond.

With its admirable west-facing position, Sandals Royal Curaçao includes two new signature suite categories, the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows and Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows, complete with Tranquility Soaking Tubs, private pools, and butler service – plus perks for select suites, like access to sporty and stylish convertible MINI Coopers to drive while exploring the island.

From the Melemele Walkout Suites (Papiamentu for affectionate) to the Sunchi Beachfront Suites (meaning kiss), locally inspired accommodations include entirely new room categories, such as the Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows and Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows, capturing the height of luxury and overlooking private lagoons and the Curaçaon coast.

Sandals Royal Curaçao boasts eleven culinary concepts, including eight restaurants – seven of which are new to the brand and only available at this resort – along with three beachside gourmet food trucks and 13 bars. A sampling of all-new concepts include Aolos, home to an open-air Mediterranean dining experience; Vincent, an homage to the famous Dutch painter with a robust European fusion menu; and Toteki food truck serving up traditional Curaçao fare.

Further immersing guests in the unique flavors of the island, Sandals Royal Curaçao offers the brand’s first-ever off-site dining program, Island Inclusive, which expands its all-inclusive dining options to eight partner restaurants around the destination.

Valid on seven-night minimum stays, the program is available exclusively to guests who are booked in Butler suites, as well as Sandals Select Reward Members (Diamond, Pearl, Ambassadors Club), offering one $250 USD voucher to dine out at one of the eight partner restaurants, with off-site roundtrip transportation included

Travellers to Jamaica no longer need a pre-COVID test

Effective April 16, 2022, international visitors to Jamaica will no longer be required to present a negative result from a COVID-19 Antigen or PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to their travel to enter the island. Additionally, Jamaica’s mandate to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces will also end on April 15, 2022.

“Eliminating mask mandates and the need for travellers to present a negative COVID test result are important strides toward our continued gradual relaxation of travel protocols as the spread of COVID-19 keeps declining,” said the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica. “We are optimistic that these simpler requirements will serve to increase the appeal of Jamaica as a premier destination and keep us moving along the road to a stronger recovery for both the tourism sector and the nation’s economy as a whole.”

All other public health measures remain in place, including the requirement for public establishments to provide hand-washing stations or hand sanitizing equipment for anyone entering the premises. Visitors and residents are also encouraged to continue to exercise caution and observe best practices for health and safety.

Jamaica has recently eliminated travel-related quarantines and the requirement for travellers to complete and receive approval of a Travel Authorization Form for entry to the island. It also shortened the isolation period required for travellers who test positive for COVID-19 while in Jamaica, in keeping with CDC recommended guidelines, and eliminated quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated business travellers who present a negative PCR test taken within 3 days of travel to Jamaica.

“As we review our Jamaica CARES program and travel protocols regularly, taking these actions was the logical next step to keep Jamaica aligned with best practices globally,” noted Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board. “Many destinations in the Caribbean region and around the world have been easing travel requirements, so this change will help us ensure that Jamaica retains its leadership position among the world’s top tourism destinations.”

Just last week, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) downgraded Jamaica to a Level 1 designation in its latest COVID-19 travel advisory to citizens due to the country having low cases of the virus. Joining just a handful of countries around the world at Level 1, Jamaica’s case levels have steadily decreased in recent months.

The health and safety of every Jamaican and every visitor to the country remains the island’s top priority through its comprehensive Jamaica CARES program. Jamaica CARES is a nationwide response to COVID-19 that includes the island’s comprehensive health and safety protocols which were among the first to receive the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels recognition and allowed the island to safely reopen in June of 2020.

For more information about Jamaica, go to www.visitjamaica.com.

Paradise found: An inside look at one of the hottest resorts in the Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island’s iconic coral towers make it one of the most easily distinguishable properties in The Caribbean. The theme of the landmark resort in The Bahamas was inspired by the lost city of Atlantis — a legendary sunken city believed to now be buried underwater somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. 

“In Bimini, there’s this myth that part of the lost city of Atlantis still exists there today,” explains Ted Adderley, vice president, sales at Atlantis. “This lost city of Atlantis became who we are and our identity. Even today, we try to manage the lost city of Atlantis and create a more modern contemporary feel to the resort.”

The legend behind the myth is evident across the resort from depictions of an underwater world in the lobby to what looks like remnants of a long-lost civilization integrated into its main marine life exhibits.

 

Focus on conservation

While Atlantis has grown to include five distinct properties, including the classic Royal towers connected by a famous bridge suite, and the luxurious and modern rooms found in The Cove, the resort is all about being more than just a place to stay. “We’re a destination in and of itself,” Adderley says. “And purposely done so that you can find what you need here.”

Along with a massive water park with slides and a lazy river, multiple beaches and pools, a casino, and a luxury marina able to accommodate yachts straight out of Below Deck — and visits by the likes of Drake — Atlantis is home to more than 50,000 marine animals who aren’t there for entertainment value. There’s a major focus on sustainability and conservation with an education centre and animal-rescue rehabilitation hospital on site. Behind the scenes, a team of 165 people, including marine biologists, study these mammals and help nurse them back to health to the point where many get re-released in the wild. 

Food to dine for 

On the guest side, there are many notable restaurant options by internationally renowned chefs on property. The popular Nobu restaurant by chef Nobu Matsuhisa features dishes like Wagyu beef, a wide assortment of nigiri, sashimi, and maki, and a signature bento box dessert creation made from rice flour with chocolate fondant cake and green tea ice cream. 

Matsuhisa is well known for putting his own twist on traditional Japanese fare. Meanwhile, the cocktail menu includes everything from sake infusions and an award-winning Bahamian Samurai cocktail to fresh takes on staples like the Oni Negroni, which is made with Hokusetsu sake and Aperol. 

At Café Martinique, Michelin-starred chef Michael White puts the focus on sustainability with locally sourced food in the adjacent Marina Village. Each dish is like a work of art using local Bahamian ingredients blended with unique Mediterranean-inspired flavours. Appetizers currently range from beef tartare to a creative twist on french onion soup. Mains are seafood or meat centric like a pan seared sea bream with asparagus and gnocchi Parisienne or a venison loin with chestnut bourbon cream. Be sure to leave room for dessert with options like profiteroles with Madagascar vanilla ice cream drizzled with a 70 per cent chocolate sauce. 

Located in The Cove, Fish by José Andrés is another delicious option that pays homage to traditional Bahamian cuisine. The expansive dinner menu features oysters, mussels, tuna tartare, Caribbean grouper, jerk chicken and a vermicelli mac ‘n’ cheese with jumbo lump crab. There are also a multitude of dishes made with conch, a local staple in The Bahamas. A signature beverage is the salt air margarita, which instead of a salt rim features a salt infused foam. 

Notably, Andrés is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit organization that heads to the frontline around the world to provide meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Andrés is currently near the border in Poland to serve warm meals to Ukrainian refugees who are seeking shelter from invading Russian troops.

Get off the beaten path in Nassau

While Nassau, New Providence and Paradise Island are well known for tourism in The Bahamas, there’s still plenty to experience that’s off the beaten path when you head off the resort.

If you want a cold one — or to sample a flight — check out Pirate Republic, the first craft brewery in The Bahamas. There are two locations to choose from, one in the Marina Village at Atlantis and one in downtown Nassau near the cruise port, which has a wider selection of seasonal brews like the B’limey Ale, a cream ale made with toasted lime peel for a burst of citrus; or an imperial stout aged for six months in John Watlings Rum Barrels.

For a unique underwater experience, head to Clifton Heritage National Park to admire the views of its underwater sculpture garden including the mesmerizing Ocean Atlas piece by Jason de Caires Taylor of a local Bahamian girl carrying the weight of the ocean above her. Back on land, the site is home to installations about the islands’ colonial and pre-colonial history. 

Those who like to shop can head to Bahama Hand Prints, a retail shop selling accessories and apparel featuring exclusive designs made using a hand screen printing technique. 




See why colourful Curacao is one of the hottest Caribbean islands to visit this year

The Southern Caribbean island expands its offerings with a fresh  roster of new restaurants, bars, art workshops, food-based experiences, and hotels 

Home to more than 35 captivating beaches, a diverse heritage spanning 55 different cultures, and stunning European  architecture, Curaçao – which sits on the outer fringes of the Hurricane Belt – remains an unrivaled  tropical escape in the Southern Caribbean. Curaçao’s natural beauty, world-class dive sites, pristine beaches and  idyllic weather have won it further accolade and recognition. Its capital city, Willemstad – a  UNESCO World Heritage site – features the iconic and colourful Handelskade backdrop, vibrant  street art, and a growing portfolio of boutiques, al fresco restaurants and trendy cafes, just to name  a few of the many reasons why Curaçao continues to flourish as one of the most exceptional  islands in the region.

Starting Mar. 10, testing will no longer be required to enter the destination, regardless of vaccination status or country of origin. Additionally, all on-island COVID measures (nightly curfew, mask mandates, proof of vaccination), have been eliminated. In addition to the change in entry requirements, restrictions surrounding nightly curfew, mask mandates and proof of vaccination for large-scale events have all been removed. The relaxed measures apply to the destination, though hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and tour operators may enforce protocols at their discretion. Subsequently, it is recommended that travelers verify specific requirements or protocols directly with each venue.

With travellers  now more than ever seeking memorable encounters and cultural immersions, the island is poised  to become a trending destination in 2022 and beyond. Speaking to the island’s culture of creativity  and inspired action, an impressive new roster of restaurants, craft cocktail lounges, nightlife  venues, art workshops, immersive food encounters, and new hotels and resorts are introducing  more ways to experience life in Curaçao.  

Below are some of the newer experiences to be discovered: 

New restaurants

With more than 55 nationalities on the island, Curaçao is recognized for its diversity and  multicultural food scene. Not only can travellers enjoy traditional Caribbean and island fare, but also enjoy new, fine dining options and elevated European cuisine, as well as a unique mix of food  influenced by the destination’s proximity to South American and Latin cultures.  

New restaurants have opened in Curaçao, providing travelers with noteworthy options like Bario Urban Street Food – a colourful and unique outdoor food court located in the artsy and mural filled neighborhood of Otrobanda.

Bario Urban Street Food at night.

Part of Bario hotel, the food stands and plaza is made of  shipping containers and food stalls, including Lionfish and Mangoes, which specializes in  sustainable dining, bringing travellers the opportunity to taste the unique fish in inventive ways – from quesadillas to tartare.

A dish from Lionfish and Mangoes.

Travellers seeking a locally trendy dining experience should head to the  island’s first gastropub, BKLYN, which offers sharable food like jackfruit bao buns and cocktails  in a lively setting with 90’s hip hop headlining the soundtrack.

BKLYN’s jackfruit bao buns.

While the island is known for its  Blue Curaçao, never has it been blended into cuisine, until the opening of Ceviche 91. Located in  the historic Rif Fort overlooking the ocean and the iconic Queen Emma floating bridge, Ceviche  91 is home to the world’s first Blue Curaçao Ceviche, made with local fresh seafood and the iconic  liquor. Other delectable new restaurants include SAL The Kitchen, which stands for “salt” in  Spanish and celebrates the fact that the walls of the restaurant, and specifically the kitchen, were built out of coral, Serafina – the island’s quintessential Italian restaurant with a dreamy patio and handmade pastas, and the lively OBaAR Brazilian Lounge which offers South American cuisine. 

Serafina’s pastas are all handmade.

When it comes to casual dining, travellers can enjoy the new De Broeders (Two Brothers) Café located in the heart of Willemstad that offers local cuisine with a modern twist, or Bliss the Berry,  the new breakfast and lunch option in Mambo Beach known for fresh, tropical smoothie bowls.  

De Broeders Cafe.

Balancing out these new and modern options are immersive experiences that focus on  highlighting ancestral cooking techniques and true Curaçaoan flavors. Vittle Art is a new  bespoke cooking workshop that takes place in the cacti-filled countryside and focuses on  generations old techniques. Participants forage local and wild ingredients like vegetables, herbs,  and plants, that are grown on the property’s grounds and then learn how to create local dishes  from scratch.

Vittle Art spread.

A group lunch is enjoyed in a bohemian setting overlooking the hills and desert like landscape. Further connecting guests with Curaçao’s history, the Pan Sera breadmaking  workshop at Kas di Pal’i Maishi serves as a window into the daily routines of the rural  population from 130 years ago. Small groups learn how to make traditional bread with  resourceful tools, then enjoy an al fresco lunch, pairing their creations with traditional stews.  

Nightlife is back

The popular, walkable district of Pietermaai, known for its boutique hotels, small shops, cozy  cafes, and nightlife scene, is back in full swing. With its picturesque and pastel-colored buildings  and a street donned with sparkling lights, Pietermaai is the quintessential Curaçaoan experience. 

Mundo Bizarro

Here, travellers will enjoy the island’s first mixology-focused craft cocktail lounge, Ochenta Cocktail Bar; the lively and social Mr. Porter Cafe; and the iconic Cuban-inspired Mundo Bizarro Restaurant  and Lounge. No night out in Curaçao is complete without a visit to “Truk’i Pans” or food trucks,  with local favorite being BBQ Express, offering BBQ meats and french fry combo plates topped  with flavors like local peanut sauce.

BBQ Express food truck.

Where to stay

Curaçao has seen a surge of new and re-branded hotel developments backed by the world’s top  hospitality brands, as well as unique boutique and independently owned properties. From a fully  renovated Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort and Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, to a  brand-new Curio by Hilton Collection property, Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao Resort, the  all-inclusive Dreams Curaçao Resort, Spa and Casino, and the Wyndham-branded Kunuku Aqua Resort, the world’s leading hospitality brands have set their sights on Curaçao and planted flags  on the island.

Renaissance Curacao

Leading into 2022, the momentum does not stop with the recent grand opening of Zoëtry Curaçao Resort & Spa and the upcoming grand opening of Sandals Royal Curaçao in Summer 2022.

Travellers that prefer independently owned and locally-inspired accommodations  can enjoy artful and inspired new boutique hotels, like the 8-room BOHO Bohemian Boutique  Hotel in the heart of Pietermaai, the nature-inspired Terra Boutique Hotel, or the colorful 18- room Bario Boutique Hotel, located in the artsy district of Otrobanda. For travellers seeking an  off-the-beaten-path experience and to get to know Curaçao outside of the capital city of  Willemstad, the island offers diverse options, such as the eco-tourism focused Mondi Lodge, the  private and remote plantation home Landhuis de Bouvrie available on Airbnb, or the quirky and  intimate Bed & Bike Boutique Hotel located in the famous Jan Thiel Beach area.  

For more information on visiting Curacao, click here

 

 

3 amazing wildlife encounters you can only have in The Bahamas

A cool Caribbean archipelago encompassing 700 dreamy islands, The Bahamas has quickly become a favoured destination for Canadians flying south for the winter. Beyond its offering of beaches, sand and spas, The Bahamas is also a haven for wildlife lovers, its waters teeming with fascinating animals like   gentle nurse sharks, stingrays and the Instagram-famous swimming pigs.

The island of Andros is home to the world’s third largest barrier reef, which hosts more than 164 species of fish and coral, making it one of the most popular locations in the country for divers and snorkellers. The beauty of The Bahamas goes beyond (and below!) the surface of its beaches. Visitors to the region have the chance to experience and enjoy the thrill of close wildlife encounters and voyages on animal adventures unlike anywhere else. 

Meet Exuma’s most famous residents 

Most novel of these experiences has to be the renowned swimming pigs in The Exumas. A must-visit photo opportunity, popularly documented across social media, the Big Major Cay swimming pigs are equally adorable and mysterious. How did these intelligent creatures end up living the dream on their own private island, surrounded by crystal blue waters with cascading palm tree canopies?

The story is still unclear. Some share enchanting tales of buccaneers and pirates, their captive porkers making a grand escape, while others speak of farmers seeking a place for their animals to be away from their homes and villages. Whatever the truth may be, be sure to speak to the locals whilst there and see which story rings the most true to you. The captivating swimming pigs have captured the hearts and attention of many and are an important and protected asset of the Bahamian ecosystem.

Adhering to a strict diet, it is important for visitors to abide and respect the rules and regulations and to remember that though appearing cute and cuddly, the swimming pigs are still wild animals that should be respected, treated gently and should only be fed fruits and vegetables. Guests are able to visit the pigs via chartered tours where they can spend time in the water with the animals, feeding them, petting them and observing how they swim and interact with each other and their tropical surroundings.
 

Swim with the sharks

Over in Compass Cay, located 75 miles from Nassau, the gentle and docile Compass Cay sharks (also known as nurse sharks) await the attention and admiration of human visitors with eagerness not to be outdone by their porcine counterparts. Growing up to 10ft long and weighing anywhere between 200-300 pounds, these bottom dwelling sharks feed on a diet of shellfish and coral and can live for up to 25 years.

Brown in appearance and smooth to touch, with hundreds of tiny serrated teeth, Compass Cay sharks are mostly harmless to humans, but should still be treated like all wild animals, with care and consideration guiding your interactions with them. A unique attribute of the nurse shark is their sucking: they vacuum up sediments with a distinctive high-pitched squeal, which makes them all the more endearing.

Snorkel with sting rays

Similar in smoothness and the way in which they gracefully glide through the Bahamian waters are the beloved Stingrays of Grand Bahama Island. Swim, snorkel or simply stand and enjoy these stingrays and their shallow white sand home. A gentle hands-on experience, suitable for the entire family, including little ones who are certain to never forget the memorable experience of holding and feeding a friendly stingray.
 
The Islands of the Bahamas are rich and abundant in the natural resources and wildlife that they have to offer those who visit the region, with swimming pigs, sharks and stingrays as well as starfish, turtles and more. Whether in shallow waters or wading in the deep, you are guaranteed to make lasting memories and enjoy experiences that you’ll reminisce long past the end of your holiday as you plan and anticipate your next visit. 

CALLING ALL Adventurers

DISCOVER BARBADOS DURING THE YEAR
OF WELLNESS & SOFT ADVENTURE

You can drive around the entire island of Barbados in just three hours; at just 34 km long and 22  km wide, it’s a small country. But Barbados is big in style– an island nation steeped in history, pride, culture, sport, and a wealth of natural beauty, both rugged and coastal. Don’t be fooled by the call  of the Caribbean, there’s more to Barbados than its beaches, although those are pretty spectacular, too. This year, discover every side of the island during Barbados’ year of wellness and soft adventure.

ISLAND SAFARI TOURS
Hit the open road with Island Safari Tours. Pile into an open-sided jeep that picks you up at your hotel and takes you on a back-
road adventure, zigzagging its way across the hills and fields of the interior of the island and along it’s lesser-known coastlines. All the while, a friendly guide will stop along the way for photo ops and to make sure you learn the history and culture as you go. A  terrific way to spend the afternoon.

RUN BARBADOS
Runners from around the world flock to Bridgetown, Barbados, each December to participate in the Run Barbados Marathon
weekend. Festivities kick-off Friday night with a one-mile run divided into five heats: elite women, elite men, amateurs, children, and a fun run. Saturday afternoon, the festivities amp up with live music, stilt walkers, and crowds gathering to cheer on the 5K run, 5K walk, and 10K run participants. The half and full marathons begin Sunday at 4 a.m. to avoid the punishing Caribbean heat. All races start from picturesque Carlisle Bay with race routes winding their way through historic downtown. Streets are often
lined with locals cheering on the runners. Races are professionally timed for serious runners, but still festive and light-hearted enough for casual participants, too.

CULINARY ADVENTURES
For a five-star foodie adventure, head to Oistin’s Fish Market on Friday nights. Locals and tourists alike come here to savour the daily catch that fishermen fry, grill, and BBQ at this open-air night market. Lively music and dance, a craft market, and delicious food make this a party you shouldn’t miss. Not sure what to order? Communal tables mean you can ask the person seated next to you. But don’t miss the dangerously sweet rum punch, traditional macaroni pie, and world-famous fishcakes. Worth the wait
in line.

UNLEASH YOUR INNER EXPLORER
Spend an afternoon exploring the magnificence of Harrison’s Cave, a crystallized, limestone cave characterized by flowing streams, deep pools of clear water, and towering columns. Measuring 2.3 kilometres long with the Great Hall an awe-inspiring 15 metres high, Harrison’s Cave is considered active, as it carries water and its stalagmites are still growing. There are a variety of ways
to explore the sights and sounds of the cave’s running streams and waterfalls: enjoy a comfortable guided tram tour, grab your helmets and headlamps for a three hour discovery tour of the cave just as the early explorers did, or travel the cave by foot for a closer look at the formations.

ON THE WATER
Relax on the deck of a Cool Runnings catamaran as you sail the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Spend a full day on the water, with snorkelling stops to see shipwrecks and sea turtles, then anchor in one of the many beautiful coves of Barbados to enjoy a delicious traditional lunch. Sunset dinner cruises are also available, as well as private bookings for special occasions. For more active adventure, find your stoke at Barry’s Surf School. Whether you’re new to surfing or a weekend warrior, you’ll be hanging ten in
no time. Try Barry’s two-hour introductory course or more advanced three-day “surf stronger” package.

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Perched high in the hills of St. Joseph Parish, take in Barbados’ breathtaking east coast views at Naniki. Proprietor Tom Hinds, welcomes you to his peaceful property with 10 cozy self-contained cottages, pool, restaurant, and new wellness centre. Get back to nature with hiking, biking in the countryside, yoga classes, or by visiting nearby Bathsheba Beach’s incredible coastline.

Story by ASHLEY ROCHEFORT