Four people swim in a lake with pine forests and mountains in the background. The four people are all smiling and laughing.

Why a trip to Canada’s stunning Northwest Territories should be on your summer bucket list

Affectionately known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, the summer months present one of the best months to visit the Northwest Territories.

From June to August, the NWT sees clear blue skies, flanked by a shimmering sun that never truly sets. Divided by the Arctic Circle, on June 21, which marks the Summer Solstice, the sun never sinks below the horizon, meaning that until mid-July, the Northwest Territories sees a delirious amount of sunshine at all hours of the day. Depending on how far north travellers trek into the Arctic Circle, the constant sunshine can last for up to six months.

While darkness truly never comes to Canada’s far north from April to July, by August, the Aurora Borealis resumes visibility and paints the northern skies in brilliant shades of electric green, deep purple, and inky indigo. 

The Northwest Territories are divided into six definite regions, each one distinctly beautiful from the next.

SOUTH SLAVE

South Slave, located south of Great Slave Lake, is the jumping point into the Territory, with direct access from the Alberta border. South Slave is home to Canada’s largest national park, Wood Buffalo, which spans 44,741 sq. km and is open for camping from now until Sept. 30. 

Photo credit: Angela Gzowski

NORTH SLAVE

To the north of Great Slave Lake lies North Slave, an area that’s home to the oldest rock formation in the world, the four billion-year-old Acasta Gneiss. North Slave is also home to the NWT’s largest Indigenous population, the Tłı̨chǫ (sometimes spelled Tlicho) people. 

Photo credit: Angela Gzowski

DECHO

Adventure travellers shouldn’t skip out on a visit to Dehcho, where breathtaking mountain backdrops and winding rivers abound. Dehcho is also home to the Nahanni National Park Reserve, which was designated as a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its incomparable geological land formations, which include deep canyons, thunderous waterfalls, and ancestral Dehcho First Nations sites. 

Photo Credit: Destination Canada

SAHTU

Sahtu, which borders the Yukon Territory on its western side and Inuvik to the north, is a backcountry camping lover’s dream, and is considered one of the most remote places in NWT, meaning travellers are very likely to come across an abundance of regional flora and fauna, like wood buffalo, moose and grizzly bears. 

Photo credit: Colin Field

WESTERN ARCTIC

The Western Arctic, a land of polar bears and sprawling tundra, is flanked by the Mackenzie River, and is where travellers can find a direct link to parts of the famed Northwest Passage. 

Photo Credit: Gerold Sigl/NWT Tourism

YELLOWKNIFE

Finally, Yellowknife, NWT’s capital, provides endless fun year round, and is a “little big city” that’s buzzing with community and culture.

From paddling, rafting, cruising or fishing the dozens of lakes and rivers, to embarking on a road trip down one of many scenic highways, to camping out under the Northern Lights, playing a round of golf, or embarking on an Indigenous-led tour, there’s no shortage of things to see and do this summer in the Northwest Territories.




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




Scotland is getting ready to host the world’s oldest golf tournament

In a few weeks, St Andrews hosts the 150th Open, the oldest golf tournament in the world and part of an unprecedented run of major golf events in Scotland this summer.

No other venue has hosted more Opens than the Old Course and Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are just some of the famous faces that have crossed the Swilcan Bridge on the way to clinching the Claret Jug in front of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, landmarks as iconic to golf fans as the players themselves.

Golf is one of Scotland’s major selling points to tens of millions of golfers around the globe. Written records of golf being played in Scotland date back to the Middle Ages and the country has some of the oldest golf courses in the world.

Scotland hosted the first Open Championship in 1860 at Prestwick and has hosted around two-thirds of the 149 Opens since, providing half of the current Open venues in operation. The Open returns to Scotland for the first time since 2018 and it’s always an extra special occasion when it is hosted where the game began.

A couple crossing the famous Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course, St Andrews, Fife.

A record-breaking 290,000 people will spectate over the course of the Open week, millions more will watch the coverage and follow the action on television and online giving St Andrews, Fife and Scotland unprecedented exposure. Visit Scotland invests more than £3 million annually to support golf events and to market Scotland globally as the Home of Golf. Colleagues are using the 150th Open and the major golf events this summer as opportunities to promote Scotland as a destination with key publications representing North America and Europe exploring what our regions have to offer. 

The Genesis Scottish Open takes its revered slot in the week prior to The Open – a date secured by VisitScotland and The Scottish Government as part of a new long-term commitment to the event. The event is co-sanctioned for the first time by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour of America, guaranteeing the field is among the strongest ever – to date 7 of the Top 10 male players in the world will tee it up at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

Following The Open, legends of the men’s game will tee it up at Gleneagles for the first time, as the King’s Course hosts the fifth Major Championship on the Champions Tour schedule, as The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex returns to Scotland for the first time since 2018.

Scotland continues to lead the way in its investment into women’s golf events, supporting the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire in late July while the AIG Women’s Open will break new ground, hosted at Muirfield in August, East Lothian for the first time.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the events in addition to The Open, with each event having its own unique message and positioning. These golf tournaments provide the perfect stage to showcase Scotland’s first-class golf regions and courses to the world as well as the wider scenery, attractions and our warm welcome.

Golf brings hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from all over the UK and Ireland, USA, Germany and Scandinavia to test themselves at some of these iconic venues they have seen as spectators and on TV. 

Overall, it is estimated that golf tourism is worth £286m to Scotland annually, supporting around 4,400 jobs. As well as the tourism boost, the health and well-being aspect of golf was brought into sharp focus during the pandemic as one of the first activities to reopen after lockdown providing exercise and social interaction. Visit Scotland’s insights indicate that visitors are now prioritizing those pursuits that boost mental and physical health.

To find out more about making the most of visiting Scotland for golf events this summer go to www.visitscotland.com/see-do/active/golf/tournaments/the-open/.

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.

Bourbon, breweries and beyond in Louisville, Kentucky

Bourbon aficionados will clearly find Kentucky a spirit-ed place.

The state accounts for 95% of the production of the distinctively American spirit of bourbon, and is cheerfully promoting both the alcohol and bourbon-related tourism attractions to potential visitors.

“There’s so much culture around the bourbon heritage,” says Jessica Morgan of Louisville Tourism while citing her city’s Urban Bourbon Trail.

Bourbon distilleries fled Louisville for the countryside during the Prohibition era in the United States but have now returned in force, with 10 urban distilleries opening since 2013.

Louisville visitors can opt for Bourbon City Cruiser tours that use a tuk-tuk-style electric-powered vehicle operated by a tour guide who will take them to distilleries and cocktail bars.

North of Bourbon in turn enables people to dine in an oversized replica bourbon barrel, while bourbon-themed accommodations are available in the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel Distil, B&B-style Chateau Bourbon, Louisville Marriott East and the Omni Hotel.

“The downtown area is thriving and vibrant and has really come back from Covid,” Morgan continues.

Morgan noted bourbon is used in many Kentucky food dishes. “We have a phrase — ‘Eat your bourbon.’”

Louisville also has a burgeoning craft beer scene, with the Brewgrass Trail — the name of which is a take on the state’s popular bluegrass music — linking 18 independent breweries.

Other downtown Louisville attractions include the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, home of the famous baseball bats, the Muhammad Ali Center, which tells of the boxing great, who was from Louisville, and a host of museums.

Tourism authorities also praise Louisville’s varied architectural styles, with Old Louisville being a registered historic district that has the largest collection of restored Victorian mansions in the United States. The district comprises more than 40 city blocks of Beaux Arts, Cateauesque, Italianate, Neclassical and Queen Anne-style homes.

Daytime Old Louisville walking tours are available, as are nightly ghost tours that describe why Old Louisville was once named “One of America’s Most Haunted” districts.

Gina Christ-Kohler of Meet Northern Kentucky notes Air Canada has restarted twice-daily Toronto-Cincinnati service, with the Cincinnati airport actually being found in Kentucky.

The Ohio-Kentucky border is defined in part by the production of alcohol, she says, adding area visitors will find “breweries on the Cincinnati side, distilleries on the Kentucky side.”

Kentucky marks the spot where the northern United States meets the southern United States, she continues.

Christ-Kohler, who hosted tourism industry staff at a Toronto Blue Jays game during a Toronto visit, adds that baseball fans will appreciate Cincinnati, home of the storied Cincinnati Reds.

Meanwhile, Anne Sabatino Hardy of Lexington visitors bureau visitLEX labels the Lexington area both the “horse capital of the world” and the “center of the thoroughbred culture” in the United States.

Visitors can go on guided tours of area horse farms while in a state that’s home to the famed Kentucky Derby.

Those visitors can also see retirement homes for race horses.

Officials also praised Kentucky’s natural side, noting it has 29 state parks and landscapes include caves, with Mammoth Cave National Park home to the longest known cave system in the world.

Some Kentucky caves can be explored by kayak or by paddle boards.

Angela Blank of the Kentucky Department of Tourism says tourists will enjoy Kentucky’s “incredible musical heritage.”

Feel like royalty on this luxury barge that offers private tours down the River Thames

European Waterways’ Magna Carta hotel barge, which cruises Britain’s River Thames, takes guests on daily, sometimes private tours to some of the opulent royal residences that feature prominently in the UK’s celebration of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Along the way, they cruise in utmost comfort, dine on gastronomic meals prepared by their personal chef, drink the finest regional wines, and enjoy views of castles, lavish estates, and the rural beauty of the English countryside that are fit for dignitaries.

With cabins on the Magna Carta quickly selling out for the 2022 season, travellers can still book 2023 and beyond at current prices, which start at $5,190 per person, based on double occupancy. Whole-boat charters start at $38,200 and allow guests to indulge in interests such as antiquing, golf and tennis, as well as family activities.

Magna Carta’s interior.

Palaces and Castles

Among the numerous excursions on Magna Carta’s itinerary is a private tour of Hampton Court Palace. Guests visit some of Henry VIII’s apartments and the Palace’s haunted gallery, where rumor has it that his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, ran screaming to confront Henry VIII when she found that he had discovered her affair. Guests will visit the original Tudor kitchens, which are complete with a hearth that is still used to demonstrate how meat was cooked on a spit. They will also tour the wood-beamed Great Hall that dates to the sixteenth century, as well as the elegant, manicured grounds of the East-facing Privy Garden.

 Magna Carta guests can also enjoy a cruise to Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite residence. Built by William the Conqueror more than 900 years ago, it is the largest castle in the world that is still inhabited today.  Guests will be treated to a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the College of St. George and visit St. Georges Chapel, where the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was held. They will also enjoy breathtaking views of the 2.5 mile Long Walk which leads to the Castle. 

Windsor Castle

Depending on the itinerary, Magna Carta can also provide guests with a private tour of Dorney Court. This Tudor manor house has been owned by the Palmer family for more than 450 years. It has served as a filming location for well-known titles like “Poirot” and “The Other Boleyn Girl.”
 
The Magna Carta’s classic cruise includes an excursion to Cliveden Estate, which once belonged to George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and a favorite of Charles II’s court. Cliveden was later also home to the American Astor family, during which it became a destination for high society, entertaining Prime Ministers like David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.
 
“An all-inclusive European Waterways hotel barge cruise is the perfect way to celebrate your own jubilee or any other special occasion – or just to spend a week of pampering, gentle touring, and relaxation,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.  “Regardless of the cruise region you chose, you will always get the royal treatment!”
 

These are 5 of the best courses in the U.S. to play a round of golf

At long last, Canadians are back on the green. For those looking for a change of scenery, the U.S. is home to some of the best award-winning courses. These top golf destinations offer an ideal mix of pure golf, relaxation, and memorable dining experiences. With so many golf resorts to choose from, we rounded up some the of best that offer luxurious amenities, quality courses, and a variety of destinations.

Cape Cod

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

 

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is a golfer’s paradise. As Cape Cod’s only Nicklaus Design golf course, the 18-hole Troon Privé course is carved out of breathtaking natural surroundings, offering tree-lined fairways, rolling topography, and dramatic elevation changes for players of all levels. With a mix of harrowing approaches and dizzying doglegs, the course features 7,011 yards of golf with a par of 72. Golfers of any level are invited to enjoy the property’s Stay & Play golf package, which includes complimentary rentals, bag storage, and unlimited same-day play. Green rates and room rates vary by season.

North Carolina

Pinehurst & The Sandhills
 

It’s said the Pinehurst area is the “Home of American Golf.” This resort is spread over an entire quaint village, it was the very first golf resort in the U.S, and is now the largest in the Western hemisphere, with a stunning nine eighteen-hole courses – and a new short course. Often called “America’s St. Andrews,” there is simply no place on earth, public or private, other than Scotland’s St. Andrews, that can lay claim to so much golf history. Its signature Number Two course is the only one on earth that has hosted two different Men’s Majors and the Ryder Cup, as well as Women’s Majors, the U.S. Amateur, the Tour Championship and basically every important event that ever changes venues – the U.S. Open is returning yet again in 2024.

One hotel was completely rebuilt, new restaurants and even a brewery were added, along with many other improvements. But for years the best kept secret here has been the Carolina Villas, freestanding units perfectly designed for a foursome (foursomes with spouses/partners) with eight beds in four bedrooms, all with private bath and separate entrances, plus a large central living area, immediately next to the flagship Carolina hotel with immediate access to all services.

 

Arizona

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
 
Settle into the comforts of home amid plush suites and amenities coupled with breathtaking mountain views of the Phoenix North Mountain Preserve. Enjoy a variety of dining options, The Falls Water Village with private cabanas and a waterslide, spa & salon services, Troon Golf and impressive event spaces. Conveniently located to all freeways, only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix and 20 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport and many other enticing attractions, Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is the perfect place to choose as your home-away-from-home.
 

Missouri

 

Missouri Big Cedar Lodge 

 

Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks of Missouri (just outside Branson) is a spectacular outdoor sporting resort already had plenty of deluxe log cabins with large porches, luxury bathrooms and full kitchens, but in recent years has quietly grown to become one of the 20 largest golf resorts in North America by adding course after course by top designers including Coore & Crenshaw, Fazio, Nicklaus and most recently (this month), the only public course in the country designed by Tiger Woods.

The resort features a collection of lodges, cottages and cabins offering the perfect place to relax with family and friends after a day on the lake. Big Cedar is home to numerous world-class restaurants and attractions like a breathtaking spa, championship golf, an expansive shooting facility and a 50,000-square-foot activity center. Whether you are looking for an adventurous outing or a relaxing retreat, Big Cedar Lodge is your perfect getaway.

 

Puerto Rico

 
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort


Calling all golf aficionados: if playing fantastic courses on an island paradise surrounded by stunning beaches and lush mountain views is on your bucket list, then your next round should be in Puerto Rico. 

A cornucopia of unique and complementary courses beckon from throughout the Island. Options abound, from luxury properties on the north coast near historic San Juan to an array of courses out west, down south, or on the east coast.

The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort is the idyllic retreat for any occasion, whether you yearn for a Caribbean golf getaway, crave an oceanfront escape, or you and the one you love need a little time under the sun and stars, there’s no place like Puerto Rico.

Where to try the art of forest bathing healing in Peru

Forest bathing is a form of ecotherapy that emerged as a term in Japan in the 1980s. The physiological and psychological exercise has two purposes: to offer an eco-antidote to digital burnout and to inspire bathers to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.

According to Expedia Group’s Sustainable Travel Study, 90% of global travellers (including those from Canada) are looking for more sustainable options when on vacation – and forest bathing is a great option.

To participate in forest bathing, travellers must choose a destination where their purpose is to effortlessly “commune with nature” and avoid external distractions – and the Peruvian jungle is the perfect place for just that.

Here are two locations within Peru ideal for forest bathing:

  1. Pacaya Samiria Reserve: With some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, the reserve offers glimpses of manatees, pink dolphins, monkeys, and a wide variety of birds, mammals, and fish. Visitors can also go canoeing or fish for piranha.

  2. Manu National Park: Established in 1973 and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Manu National Park is home to over 15,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds, 1,300 species of butterflies, and a handful of species so exotic, they haven’t been named yet. The park also contains 14 distinctive ecosystems and can be divided into two sections: the mountains and the lowlands. Nature lovers will be excited by the possibility of seeing jaguars, pumas, tapirs, giant armadillos, a whole host of monkeys, spectacled bears, macaws, Andean condors, caimans, and maybe even anacondas.

To learn more about unique experiences to try in Peru, visit the official tourism website

5 exciting music festivals to attend this year in Montreal

Music is an integral part of Montréal’s culture, and the city’s spring/summer calendar offers a variety of exciting festival options for visitors to choose from.

Here are five exciting music festivals taking place this spring and summer!

  • Metro Metro (May 20 – 22): Montréal’s biggest urban musical festival hits the Parc Olympique Esplanade this May with a lineup that’s sure to be one to remember. Headlining acts include Lil Baby, Playboi Carti and Young Thug plus up and comers Don Toliver, Lil Pump and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Local Québec artists include Loud, Naya Ali, Koriass, Fouki and 5Sang14.
  • Francos de Montréal (June 10 – 18): Showcasing French-language music heavyweights and fresh emerging talent, the top musical artists of the franco music scene will take over the Quartier des Spectacles in June with nearly 250 concerts, many of which are presented free at some fifteen outdoor and indoor venues. Spectators can enjoy hip-hop, rock, pop, folk, electronic music and everything in between at Francos de Montréal.
  • Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 30 – July 9): The 42nd edition of the world’s largest jazz festival will feature jazz greats like Ludovico Einaudi, Gregory Porter and Dominique Fils-Aimé, along with Quebec’s own wunderkind Jean Michel Blais.
  • Osheaga (July 29 – 31): Montréal’s major musical festival returns this year with a lineup that includes headliners like Foo Fighters, A$AP Rocky, Dua Lipa and the Arkells. Upcoming artists include London-based singer, rapper and songwriter Ashnikko, Montréal’s own DJ Bolarinho and Ireland’s rock band Inhaler.
  • Lasso Festival (August 12 – 13) The new Lasso country music festival hits Montréal in Jean Drapeau Park this August. Headline acts include American country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley, chart-topping country band Old Dominion, Georgia’s Luke Bryan and country-pop star Kelsea Ballerini.

For more fun things to do in Montreal this year, visit the official tourism website.

 

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