Aquavit: Scandinavian Warmth

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One spirit makes the cold, dark winters of Scandinavia considerably warmer and more festive. Known variously as aquavit, akvavit, or akevitt (from the Latin aqua vitae, or “water of life”), this translucent grain- or potato- based alcohol is flavored with herbs and spices, most notably caraway and dill. Similar in alcohol content to vodka, aquavit is heady stuff that should be consumed with respect.

Aquavit: Scandinavian WarmthAquavit: Scandinavian Warmth
Though Scandinavia enjoys dozens of varieties, U.S. imports of Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian aquavit have dwindled. Fortunately, North American craft distillers have begun producing their own versions of the spirit.

Traditionally, aquavit is sipped either chilled or at room temperature or taken as snaps, a quick shot during the appetizer course of a meal.

Aquavit: Scandinavian WarmthAquavit: Scandinavian Warmth

Before downing it from raised glasses, courtesy and custom dictate that you look your companions squarely in the eye, nod, and propose the age-old Scandinavian toast: Skål! Another nod before placing the glasses back on the table seals the timeless ritual.

Adapted from virtuoso.com

To Book Your Trip to Scandinavia
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Reasons to Visit South Africa Right Now

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South Africa is one of the favorite destinations for tourists. Though most Canadians prefer to visit South destinations in the winter, we will explain to you why now is a perfect time to visit South Africa and enjoy its fantastic weather and gorgeous beaches.

Remember that visiting South Africa can be just as amazing, if not better!

And we know why!

 Reasons to Visit South Africa Right Now
– Visit Northern Cape’s stunning national parks, where you can see black-maned lions. In winter, you can also enjoy animal tracking activities with the Kalahari Bushmen.

– Cape Town has been named the ‘Best City in the World’ in ‘The Telegraph Travel Survey’ in 2016. The significant number of Telegraph readers made this choice for a reason.

– Because of the “big five;” i.e. lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhino. And then there’s hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, meerkats, wild dogs, kudu, hyena, and ostrich (including the ones you can ride at Outsdhorrn).

Reasons to Visit South Africa Right Now. Wine estate in Cape Town

– Here, the Safari is special. Since the Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in the world, you can drive through the park all alone or join guided tours. The possibility of staying overnight turns out to be a perfect chance to do many game drives and see some of the magnificent animals on safari like those in the Big Five.

“The famous Blue Train is famous among all the tourists”

– Here, you can take a 27-hour train ride from Pretoria to Cape Town, or in the other direction. The famous Blue Train is famous among all the tourists. The rooms either have single beds or full beds and some even have full-sized bathtubs. Each section of the train has its butler, and there is also a turn-down service. Here, you can even buy diamonds in the gift shops or relax in the special atmosphere of the open bar.

Reasons to Visit South Africa Right Now. Growling male Lion

– Here, you can experience a large variety of attractive destinations: Cape Town, with its beautiful nature and stunning design scenes; the classic Garden Route, with its breathtaking lakes and beautiful lagoons alongside the Indian Ocean; a coastal city Durban, with its seafront promenade; unforgettable Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves where you can see the animal of the legendary Big Five.

– Impressive African cuisine is becoming highly popular in the World. It can be divided into regions, including the Northern, Southern, Central, Eastern, and Western Africa. With the most popular dishes, such as Pap en vleis, piri piri chicken, jollof rice and egusi soup, bunny chow and kapenta with sadza, African cuisine will not leave you indifferent.

To Book Your Trip to South Africa
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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Amazing Riviera Maya, Mexico

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White sandy beaches and crystal clear waters make this destination a true paradise for all beach and water sports fans. Few destinations on earth can amaze you in the way as Riviera Maya does.

Nowadays Riviera Maya in Mexico is an international resort destination. Many visitors come here for the stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife and intriguing Mayan ruins located within easy reach of the resort. Riviera Maya is one of the Mexico´s most popular tourist hot spots. However, a few decades ago it was a tiny and calm fishing village with no tourists coming for vacations. In fact, Riviera Maya is best known as a family, sporting and wedding resort where everyone can choose his own holiday style.

Amazing Riviera Maya, Mexico. Riviera Maya Beach

Riviera Maya extends 24 miles from Punta Brava

Riviera Maya extends 24 miles from Punta Brava, south of Puerto Morelos to the fishing village of Punta Allen inside the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an.

The official language of Riviera Maya is Spanish, like in all the Mexico. Don’t be afraid to be misunderstood or not being able to express yourself. In the tourist spots, the greater part of the local population speaks English, and sometimes even French, German and Italian, due to a large number of tourists from those countries. However, some locals trace their heritage to the Mayans who settled the area before the arrival of the Spanish. The present-day Mayans tend to live inland and speak little Spanish.

Amazing Riviera Maya, Mexico

After the construction of Cancun International Airport, this destination has gained even more popularity due to fairly inexpensive prices. You can find here all kinds of tourists, from independent explorers to those who booked all-inclusive packages. The destination has it all to please the tastes of even the most fastidious travelers. It is an amazing place for both families with kids of all ages and single visitors. Tourism is the main industry and visitors are treated very well (even too well). You will be quite happy even if don’t leave the resort. If you choose to explore, you will stay stunned with the beauty of the area.

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Amazing Riviera Maya, Mexico

To Book Your Trip to Riviera Maya
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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10 Facts About Cuba That You Didn’t Know

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Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is located 145km (90 miles) south of Key West, Florida, between the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, to the west of Haiti, east of Mexico and northwest of Jamaica.

10 – Cuba is also called El Caiman or El Cocodrilo (Spanish for alligator), which is what the island looks like from an aerial view. It consists of the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), and several minor archipelagos. There are unique crocodile species on the island called the “Cuban crocodile,” that can be found nowhere else in the World.

10 Facts About Cuba That You Didn't Know

9 – March 12, 1857, was the only time it has ever snowed in Cuba. That was an extremely unexpected and surprising phenomenon. It took place in Cárdenas, to the North of the island. For a tropical country, with the warm and humid weather year round, snow is the most unusual event you can ever imagine. However, it never snowed again, but the mercury dropped dramatically to 35.9 F (1.9 C) in 2010 in Matanzas, located right next to Cárdenas.

8 – Cuba obtains the highest doctor to patient ratio in the entire world! It has also ranked in the top 2 for physicians. Cubans may be low on the basic goods, press freedoms, and smartphones, but they’ve got world-renowned health care.

7 – Christopher Columbus came on Cuba’s northeastern coast on October 28, 1492, near what is now Barry in the Holguin province. Columbus named the island the new Kingdom of Spain.

10 Facts About Cuba That You Didn't Know

6 – Up until 2008, it was completely illegal for Cubans to use computers. In fact, they could only use them in the offices with a proper permit. Internet activity is under the strict control until today. Emails and web pages are monitored, and some of them are banned altogether. So, only 5% of Cubans have access to the uncensored, open Internet today.

5 – The only cars that Cuban citizens can own legally are those which were made and bought before 1959. After this year, the Cuban government seized all of the cars and owns them all to this day. Most of the pre-1959 cars in Cuba are from the United States.

“Internet activity is under the strict control until today”

4 – In Cuba, the profession of ballet dancers is the most popular due to the high salary and large popularity. In fact, ballet has an immense popularity in the country; it is just as popular as baseball. Moreover, ballet dancers often earn more money than doctors.

3 – Cuba is the birthplace of such world famous dance styles as the Bolero, Mambo and Cha Cha. Each has its own ancestry and cultural importance. Son is a major genre of Cuban music. Cuba possesses a privileged place in Latin America on the dance.

2 – A drink of rum and coke and lime is called a “Cuba Libre” everywhere in the World. Everywhere except Cuba. In this country, it’s called a “mentality,” literally a “little lie” in many exile enclaves, meant as a commentary on the revolution.

1 – Found in Cuba, the Manjuari is a fish not found anywhere else in the world. Moreover, Cuba is the natural habitat of the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world.

10 Facts About Cuba That You Didn't Know

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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Boxing Week Event

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Take advantage of our great deals on Sun Vacation Packages this winter.

See some samples below of our special offers, or use the booking tool to search other flight deals!

Book by January 3rd!

Boxing Week Event

We offer:

  • South package deals (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico)
  • Florida package deals (Kissimmee, Orlando)
  • Europe Tours (Italy, Portugal, Croatia)
  • South cruise deals for Boxing Day

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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Mexico Travel Tips

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1. Stay positive

Very warm and positive, Mexicans are the people who seem to be never stressed. No matter what time you visit this country, you’ll not be able to resist the hospitality and agreeable character of your hosts. If you want to practice your Spanish, Mexico is a perfect destination for that purpose. Moreover, the people here are with roots set deep in their culture, and the result is a strong nation. Mexicans are known as very religious people, and the country has a very moral society.

2. Try local Food

Don’t miss a chance to try local cuisine. Mexican food will surprise you in a good way. You will taste courses much more complex and different than what you probably expect. Mexican cuisine is a fusion of Mesoamerican cooking with European one (primarily Spanish). The traditional cuisine consists of corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, chili peppers, and with rice.

Mexico Travel Tips. Mexican Food

3. Learn and speak some Spanish

There is no better chance to practice your Spanish than in the Spanish-speaking countries. So, if you plan your trip to Mexico, just try to learn some words and useful phrases before you go there. New language always broadens your horizons, give you positive emotions and helps you better understand natives. The good thing is – your skills are improving much better in the Spanish-speaking country than just in the classroom with a teacher. And don’t be afraid of getting misunderstood. Rather than laughing at you most of the locals will be grateful, not to mention kind and understanding.

4. Visit festivals

Festivals and, how they are often called in Mexico, fiestas, have always remained a big part in the life of the Mexican people. Here the special value is given to different religious Catholic festivals like the Epiphany, Semana Santa, etc. and they are celebrated with traditional values and ideals.
Mexico City also holds multiple festivals with political significance like the Benito Juarez’ Birthday, Dia de la Revolucion, Carnaval, Dia de la Independencia, etc. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the unbelievable beauty and incredible atmosphere of Mexican festivals!

Mexico Travel Tips. BRUSSELS, BELGIUM-SEPTEMBER 15: Dancers of Xochicalli Mexican folkloric ballet show national dance on Grand Place during 12 edition of Folklorissimo Festival on September 15, 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.

5. Bring your kids

It’s no secret that Mexico is very kid-friendly. Kids menus are available in many restaurants, with play areas designed especially for the little ones. Moreover, there are many family and kids tours, where you can experience all the beauty and hospitality of the country. But don’t forget the necessity to verify the age and height demands for every tour.

6. Explore

From the fascinating Mexico City to ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and impressive beaches of Acapulco, the numerous unforgettable attractions in this country will not let you stay indifferent. Every tourist feels attracted by this destination, and it remains one of the most popular in the World. We also suggest you visit the beautiful beaches of Los Cabos.

Mexico Travel Tips. Panoramic cityscape of Guanajuato Mexico

7. Shop around

Shopping is one of the favorite tourist activities all over the World. So, Mexico is not the exception. Mexico has all kind of shops from department stores and fashion boutiques to malls, markets, and street hawkers. Moreover, Mexico has always remained a prosperous commerce center. Markets and trade continue to be an important part of everyday Mexican life.

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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Year End Sale! Mexico and the Carribean Packages

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Year End Sale!

Mexico and the Caribbean have multiple exciting and beautiful destinations, each with its own special style and atmosphere. Sun and sand are waiting to greet you at every turn, and with great deals on Mexico and Caribbean vacation packages, there’s no better time than now to book.

Winter is the right time of year to turn to our Travel Advisors for fantastic packages, each of which has been hand-picked. It’s one of the many reasons why we’re the name to look for when it comes finding your ideal winter vacation.

From Cancun to Montego Bay, and plenty of wonderful destinations in between, Southwest Vacations can help you discover your dream vacation package to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Year End Sale! Mexico and the Carribean Packages

Terms and conditions:
New bookings only. Prices reflect applicable reductions.  Offers expire at 11:59 p.m. ET on the date indicated.

To Book Your Trip
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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How to Travel Properly This Winter

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Winter is a great time for a perfect vacation. There is something in the air that makes everybody dreams of going abroad for a trip. However, there could be multiple problems during a trip. If your perfect vacation plans are in doubt because of them, there are still some actions you can take to make sure you get where you need to go and get there on time. YYZ Travel Advisors know like no other what troubles can occur during your trip. And we share some advice how to deal with them in a best way. These steps are perfect for those who have already booked a trip or is worried about future travels.

How to Handle Winter Weather Delays

Even the most perfect and well-organized trips can go wrong just because of the flight delay or cancellation. We know what to do in the following situations.
Firstly, let us explain you the current legislation rules applying in the situation when your flight was delayed or cancelled.

How to Travel Properly This Winter

You should be aware of the fact that Canadian airlines and travel companies are not required to compensate you if your flight is delayed. However, the major carriers do compensate passengers for delays. Their policies are available on the websites, in the airline’s “Contract of Carriage”.
With the situation when you were unfairly treated, there is the Canadian Transportation Agency that can help you. But that is possible after you addressed the airline.

In the case of your flight delay you can count on:

– a meal voucher from WestJet (for delay of more than three hours); a meal and a hotel voucher from WestJet (for delay of more than eight hours, if you’re not in the home city

– change of an outbound flight of Air Canada to another date within the next week, for free
(delay for more than 2 hours)

– a meal voucher from Air Canada if a flight is not caused by weather (for delay of more than four hours)

– a meal vouchers, airport transfers and accommodation (hotel contacts) from Air Canada (for delay of more than eight hours)

– a drink and a meal or snack from Sunwing (for delay of more than six hours)

– a $75 travel voucher for future Sunwing flights or certain excursions of the company offers.
(for delay of more than six hours)

How to Travel Properly This Winter. Female traveller checking flight departures board.

How to Handle Weather Delays:

Call abroad

In order not to wait on hold for hours, we suggest you to call one of the airline’s international service numbers. All the numbers are available on official websites of the companies.
Don’t forget that you can use a Skype app for your call, because the fees and prioritize English-speaking countries.

Enter the club

 Club agents in airport lounges are empowered to help customers with flight plans and changes and can often go above and beyond the average customer-service rep. So if you’re already at the airport, get yourself into the lounge—even if that means paying for a day pass. Don’t expect miracles; do expect some support, plus a civilized environment with free drinks.

Know your rights

It’s important to know exactly what compensation you are allowed to receive in an exact situation. Don’t forget that some credit cards, and especially ones with a travel reward program, offer robust flight delay and cancellation protections when you use them to pay for a ticket.
Book direct flights. Remember, that very connection is another chance at a delay or missed flight.
Choose bigger airlines. Make a choice of the airline that has the most extensive route network in a definite region—it will give you more rebooking options in the case of some unexpected troubles.

Beware change and cancellation fees

Changing your ticket is an easy way to get ahead of a winter storm, but it can come with a big price tag. Here are two ways to avoid those fees—without buying expensive refundable tickets: One is via your loyalty program: Having elite status could help waive same-day change and standby fees. If that’s not in the cards, try booking with Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t charge for changes that are made at least 10 minutes prior to your flight.

Know your (flight) status

You can always check it on-line or just download a special app for your device. There is a large number of them offering real-time data on delays and cancellations.

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Enchanting Taiwan

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Taiwan is an island nation geographically situated to the southwest of Okinawa, Japan and north of the Philippines. Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China since 1945.

Enchanting Taiwan

Useful information:

Area: 36,000 square kilometers
Population: 23 million
Language: Mandarin / Taiwanese / Hakka / Indigenous Languages
Religion: Buddhism / Taoism / Christianity / Islam
President: MS. Tsai Ing-wen

Enchanting Taiwan. Jiufen, Taiwan

History

Founded in 1912, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was the first democratic republic in Asia.
But before that, the territory of Taiwan was inhabited by Austronesian people. Later, since the 17th century, Taiwan was a home to Han immigrants. Since 1895, Taiwan was governed by Japan for about 50 years, and only after World War II Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist control.
In 1949, the government moved to Taiwan and maintained jurisdiction over an area of the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, Dongsha, Zhongsha, and Nansha.

Enchanting Taiwan

Geography

With its rough shape, the island nation has a population of more than 23 million people, which makes it one of the most populated places in the world. Taiwan is a very famous tourist attraction known for sharp mountains and dense forests. ROC also obtains de facto control over the tiny Pescadores (Penghu), Quemoy (Kinmen/Jinmen), and Matsu.

Taiwan has some incredible views and magnificent sites and its capital, Taipei, is a rich culture and entertainment hub. Taiwanese cuisine has a lot in common with Japanese, and it represents typical Asian cuisine. With the multiple tourists coming here every year, Taiwan has increasing numbers of mainland Chinese visiting. Moreover, Taiwan is one the most favorite destination for Hong Kong residents.

Enchanting Taiwan. Liuhe Night Market,Kaohsiung,Taiwan, May, 4th, 2013 : Liuhe Night Market with a crow of people

Economy

Taiwan has a thriving capitalist economy with gradually diminished government guidance on investment and foreign trade. Exports, led by electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals have provided the primary impulse for economic elaboration. This high exports dependence exposes the economy to fluctuations in world demand. Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are other major long-term challenges.

To Visit St. Martin
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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River Cruising

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Discover the perks of river cruising with Crystal River Cruises. 

 

Explore the captivating capitals and iconic landscapes of Europe’s legendary waterways with Crystal River Cruises™. Enjoy all-inclusive amenities and take advantage of personal butler service. Explore the unparalleled sights along the Danube and Rhine rivers with Crystal’s expert guides.

Available Cruises:
  • TREASURES OF THE DANUBE 
  • EASTERN DANUBE DISCOVERIES
  • DANUBE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
  • JEWELS OF THE RHINE

For more information
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

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