After Irma, Harvey and the Others – Where Should You Vacation?

It has been a busy season when it comes to natural disasters in Mexico, the Caribbean and Southern United States. We’re sure you’re wondering if your favourite vacation destinations and resorts are where you should choose to vacation this winter.

Here is a list of destinations that we have received notifications about that are just fine or will be very soon:

 

MEXICO

Cancun & Riviera Maya

  • This area of Mexico and the Caribbean has seen no significant damage! All of your favourite resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya are open for business as usual.

Puerto Vallarta

  • This area of Mexico has not been affected by any tropical storms or the recent earthquake that hit the West coast. Feel free to visit whenever you like!

Los Cabos

  • The majority of resorts and hotels in this area of the Baja Peninsula are doing just fine. There are some that will need a week or two to open back up but you can confidently book your winter vacation packages to Los Cabos.

Huatulco

  • Although the recent earthquake was felt in Huatulco all tourist areas and hotels are ready to welcome you.

 

JAMAICA

  • All of your favourite resorts in Jamaica are open for business, unless closed for scheduled maintenance, and ready to serve you.

 

TURKS & CAICOS

  • Beaches Turks plans to reopen cleaned up and better than ever just in time for your winter vacation on December 14!
  • Club Med Turkoise is welcoming guests back to their resort as early as September 30, 2017.

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

  • The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism reports that the country’s tourist destinations were not negatively affected by Hurricane Irma and are up-and-running as usual. All airports, seaports, highways, tourist attractions, and hotels in all major destinations, such as Punta Cana / Bávaro, Samaná, Sosúa, Cabarete, Puerto Plata, La Romana / Bayahibe, Juan Dolio, Santo Domingo and others are operating normally.

 

BAHAMAS

  • Nassau and Paradise Island were not impacted by Hurricane Irma. Your favourite hotels like Sandals Royal Bahamian, Atlantis Paradise Island, Melia Nassau Beach Resort and Sandals Emerald Bay and more are all open and welcoming guests.

 

FLORIDA

Orlando

  • Walt Disney World’s four theme parks have reopened with most attractions up and running. The Disney Resort hotels have returned to normal operation with the exception of Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas.    The two Disney water parks will reopen later this week.   Walt Disney World is known as one of the safest places to be during an emergency – you can safely plan your next Disney vacation as soon as you like!
  • Legoland Florida’s theme park is resuming its regular schedule today, Thursday September 14. Their water park will reopen soon as well.
  • Universal Orlando Resort is open for business with minor damage to report.
  • SeaWorld Orlando is back to normal as well.
  • Port Canaveral has resumed operations.

Miami

  • Power is returning to Miami neighborhoods as quickly as possible. Miami airport is open and hoping to return to full operations by the weekend.
  • The port of Miami re-opened to cruise ships on Wednesday.
  • Many Miami Beach hotels are currently open offering reduced rates for Florida residents who do not have power yet.

Fort Lauderdale

  • The Fort Lauderdale airport is up and running normally – however some delays are to be expected.
  • Port Everglades has been cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard and is open for business.

 

TEXAS

  • Downtown Houston is dry but may areas of Texas have a long road ahead of them before they will fully recover from the flooding and destruction.

 

ANIGUA & BARBUDA

  • In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the island of Antigua is pleased to report that no hotels have closed as a result of the storm, although a few of the properties had already closed prior to Irma for their annual renovations and general spruce-up, in preparation for the busy festive season. By supporting tourism in Antigua, your patronage will help to rebuild Barbuda.

 

CUBA

  • Information regarding the state of many of Cuba’s tourist areas like Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria is still limited at this time. We’ll work to keep you updated as we know more.   The following details regarding hotels in Varadero was found in the Havana Times on September 12.
    • Blau Marina Varadero – The hotel had to evacuate its guests yesterday morning. The Hotel received serious damage due to its location which is very exposed as it is located right on the tip of the peninsula. The main building suffered serious damage (roof, glass doors, etc.). Structural damage could be noted in the room buildings. The beach eroded due to the waves.
    • Melia Marina Varadero – Some rooms have broken windows and damage to the balconies but the biggest damage can be seen in the common areas of the hotel, especially in the lobby. The hotel is located on a hill so the protection against gusts of wind is minimal.
    • Grand Memories Varadero – The hotel suffered some damage due to gusts of wind. The lobby will require restoration work and it is one of the hotels that suffered major damage to the roof and common areas such as gardens and pool areas. According to reports from the General Manager approximately 40 rooms were damaged and have broken windows. In general, there is no great structural damage and the damage is considered moderate. Access to the beach is virtually blocked.
    • Memories Varadero – The hotel is generally in good condition. Some recovery work will be required in corridors, public areas and some rooms on high floors where roof leaks can only be repaired by replacing the roof in its entirety. The hotel has already re-opened the lobby bar without alcoholic beverages at the moment. Recovery work is being done quickly by the hotel staff to be able to re-establish regular services as soon as possible.
    • Paradisus Varadero – The hotel suffered extensive damage. Ceilings were blown off in some structures in the Family Concierge areas and will require considerable investment to recover. The main building was equally devastated; the new restaurant that was under construction near the beach collapsed.
    • Royalton Hicacos – This is another hotel that suffered major damage. The beach area eroded due to the waves. The restaurant on the beach also suffered extensive damage. The main buffet area is very exposed so it suffered serious damage especially to the roof. You could see a lot of rubble in the area. The Caribeño restaurant has broken windows. The Rooms area did not seem to have major damage.
    • Iberostar Varadero – The Hotel was severely affected. Part of the palapa-like straw roofs disappeared. The theater is partially destroyed. The palapa roof in some rooms was equally destroyed. The palapas around the pool were destroyed and there is debris in the area.
    • Be Live Turquesa – The hotel was evacuated so it was not possible to perform a complete inspection.
    • Playa de Oro – You could see broken windows in several rooms. The pool area was quite affected and the lobby area also has noticeable damage. The disco area has some parts of the roof collapsed. Landscaped areas have fallen trees. The restaurant is running and providing food service.
    • ROC Arenas Doradas – The hotel seemed in good condition. Some air conditioners were ripped off the walls but light damage can be recovered relatively quickly.
    • Meliá Las Antillas – The hotel is generally in good condition and without serious damage to its structures.
    • Blau Varadero – The hotel has a very solid structure however being a tall building it always receives some damage when a hurricane hits the area. The lobby was in good condition however the rooms on higher floors may have suffered some damage.
    • Starfish Varadero – The hotel was generally found in good condition. Lobby without noticeable damage.
    • Brisas del Caribe – The rooms were badly damaged. During the inspection visit you could see several tourists waiting to be changed rooms due to leaks in broken ceilings and windows. The lobby also suffered some damage.
    • Iberostar Laguna Azul – The hotel is located on a hill however it did not suffer serious damage considering its exposed location. Partial damage could be noticed on the roof of the restaurant in the beach area, some palapas destroyed.
    • Starfish Cuatro Palmas – The hotel was evacuated. Some structural damage could be noticed, mainly in the ceilings of some buildings. It was not possible to make a full visit since no staff were found on the property.

 

Keep in mind that clean up and repairs after a disaster can be very costly on a country.   Many of these destinations rely heavily on tourism and would greatly appreciate a visit from you and your family this winter. 

Reach out to our team for more information on these or any other destinations you may be interested in for your winter 2017/18 vacation.  We are here to help make sure you have the very best holiday possible.

Circle Drive  306-934-3400
Sutherland 306-955-1449

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COLLEEN’S SECRETS ROYAL BEACH VACATION – PART 3

Our holiday is almost over and we have really loved Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.   One of the best things about the resort is that you have sharing privileges at the Now Larimar and the Now Garden which gave us access to 13 restaurants!  Our two top picks were Capers which is an Italian restaurant at the Now Garden and the Himitsu restaurant which is the teppanyaki restaurant.  The food at both of these is very good. The other restaurants were good but didn’t have the same WOW factor.

While we were here it was my husband’s birthday and the hotel goes all out. We had a banner on the door, cake, balloons and a card. It was really nice! As you walk around the resort you will see Honeymoon, Anniversary and returning guest banners.  They actually asked when we checked in if we were celebrating anything so no one is missed.  It will be sad to leave but this is definitely a hotel that we will return to.

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If you are interested in visiting the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana please reach out to our team of agents at 306-242-TRIP. They would love to help you plan your next vacation!

Get Social With us @UniglobeCarefree on Facebook and @uniglobeYXE on Instagram and Twitter

COLLEEN’S SECRETS ROYAL BEACH VACATION – PART 2

So in talking to people around the resort I always like to ask about what they like best about the resort and some say the great staff, others the food but the best thing around here is the lazy river.

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All of the bottom rooms around the lazy river have lounge chairs so that they can sit on their patios and then it’s just a few steps to the water.

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Some of the rooms are quite secluded around the river with areas to get out if you want there are also hammocks and chairs almost built in along the way.

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Many people come back each year and get their same rooms.  It’s not uncommon to see the waiters walking along the lazy river to bring people drinks.  They all seem to have brought a blow up tube from home or you can buy them from vendors on the beach.  It’s hard to imagine that this is an adults only resort when you see all the blow up toys but it seems to be the thing that keeps people coming back.

Check out my video of the lazy river:

Get Social With us @UniglobeCarefree on Facebook and @uniglobeYXE on Instagram and Twitter

Colleen’s Secrets Royal Beach Vacation – Part 1

Hola from Punta Cana!

We have been here for a couple of days now and we are staying at Secrets Royal Beach.  This is a great hotel. You pay a little more but it is totally worth it.

Check out our beautiful room.

 

Here are some of the best things about the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana:

  • Adults only = no kids.  If you have kids you can stay at the Now Larimar next door
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort even works on the beach.  No more sitting in the lobby with a hundred other people trying to get the Internet!
  • No wrist bands!  I love not having a wrist band. Say good bye to the wrist band tan.
  • No towel cards.  You can get as many towels that you want, when you want. No more towel cards to search for every morning.
  • 24 hour room service –  breakfast in bed or that late night pizza, your choice.
  • Great chairs on the beach and a small table at each palapa – no more putting your drink in the sand.  Plus there are a ton of waiters to get your drinks!
  • The Jacuzzi tub on your balcony is a nice touch.
  • There is a lazy river that runs through the property.  I have never seen so many adults with blow up toys.
  • There are 5 restaurants in the hotel but you can also dine at the Now Larimar or the Now Garden giving you access to a total of 13 restaurants. If you stop at the front lobby the bell boys are happy to give you a ride to any restaurant in their golf carts. Oh and there are no reservations required at the a la carte restaurants!

It doesn’t get any better than this. Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana is waiting for you!

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We Love Canada!

Working in the travel industry our team has plenty of opportunity to explore the world around us.   We LOVE hopping on a plane and discovering new international destinations to share with our clients.   As much as we love having overseas adventures, we also take the time to explore and appreciate our world here at home.  Whether it’s a short drive from our homes or across the country, there is SO MUCH to explore right here at home.

In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday this year, we took the time to write about some of our favorite moments and places around the country and wanted to share them with you.

Ile-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
Amanda Campbell – Leisure Travel Consultant

Quebec Amanda2

“I went to Ile-de-la-Madeleine for a French workshop in July a few years ago.  I flew to Charlottetown, and then took the ferry across to the island.  It was beautiful.  All hilly and the ocean was great. You had to be careful as there were jellyfish in the ocean.  I went canoeing with our group into little inlets and caves.  It was really neat.

The people all speak French there are it’s a Quebec island.  The harbor/boardwalk has lots of little shops and restaurants.  The souvenirs were so unique at that time, such as soap that looked like a Neapolitan Fudgsicle.  They had a little aquarium there with a seal, and many other little local marine life.  There were excursions that you could go swim with the seals in the ocean.  It was a great experience.”

 

Vancouver, British Columbia
Helen Klassen – Corporate Travel Consultant

Vancovuer Helen

“I am always amazed by the beauty of B.C. My last trip was to the incredible city of Vancouver where you can experience the ocean, mountains and forests.”

Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Joanne Pidwerbetsky – Leisure Travel Consultant

Canmore Joanne 2

“What could be better than biking in the Rockies, definitely a work out!!!”

Calgary, Alberta
Heather Peters – Marketing Coordinator

Heather Calgary

“For me, a very special trip within Canada was quite a few years ago when I had the opportunity to truly experience Calgary with one of my oldest friends.   We did a ton of shopping, visited the Olympic park (and did some bobsledding!), participated in the white hat ceremony tradition, had mind blowing meals and so much more.   I had never had a reason to visit Calgary (other than the airport of course) and this weekend getaway completely exceeded my expectations of the city.  Take the time to visit Calgary as a tourist and you’ll be pleasantly surprised!”

 

Southern Saskatchewan
Marcy Melnyk – Corporate Travel Consultant

Cyprus Hills 6 Marcy

“Beautiful, pristine and serene Saskatchewan landscapes!”

Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan
Charles Street – Administration

Manitou Beach pano heather

“Coming from the coast, I missed being in close proximity to the water. This made it all the greater when we decided to gather the extended family and take a trip over to Manitou Beach for a day of BBQ, games and lakeside relaxation.”

 

Stanley Park, British Columbia
Czarina Sastaunik – Leisure Manager

Seawall

“Nothing beats amazing views of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, bordered by beautiful Stanley Park.  The Vancouver Seawall is an absolute favorite of mine.  Can’t wait to go back!”

 

Kelowna, British Columbia
Annette Frey – Corporate Travel Consultant

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“One of my favorite places to go is Kelowna.  They have wonderful wines and beautiful weather.”

Newfoundland
Colleen Lorenzen – Operations Manager

Colleen Newfoundland

“Our best trip in Canada would have been our trip to Newfoundland.  We had the opportunity to visit the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows on the western coast of Newfoundland.  It is a National Historic Site and the village has been rebuilt as it would have been at the time.  The best part is the actors that work there that are dressed in period costumes and play the part of Vikings as they would have lived then.  The interaction with them can be very interesting and funny.  I hope you take the opportunity to visit Newfoundland soon.  You won’t be disappointed. “

 

Northern Saskatchewan
Karen Katelnikoff – Leisure Travel Consultant

Karen Lake
My favorite Canadian trip is the one I take almost every weekend in the summer, to the lake. The lake gives me the same feeling of refreshment as travel does. We don’t always have the time to take long vacations but it sure it great to have a weekend escape. There is nothing like gathering the family and hitting the highway. The best part about our campsite is that our phones don’t have the best reception. It is just like going on a big trip, the phones get left at the door and we can have fun together. Every day can be what we choose. It can be a day of adventure with water sports and fishing or a day of leisure on the beach or by the campfire.”

 

Cape Breton Island
Jamie Milton – Managing Partner

Cape Breton Vista Jamie
I love our home country of Canada and as much as I enjoy traveling the world, I am a big advocate for also seeing our own beautiful Country from coast to coast.  One of my favorite places is Cape Breton Island – it is almost like traveling to another world.  From small town kitchen parties and Ceilidh with folk singing and dancing… to unbelievable drives with incredible vistas and the freshest of seafood – this friendly place quickly makes you feel at home.  One of my fondest memories is meandering our way along the Cabbot Trail with a 3 year old in tow…we took our time stopping for hikes and fishing and to play at the beach.  Don’t forget to stop at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum to fly a kite and explore the picturesque town of Baddeck!  It’s a place where you need to take your time and get into the local’s easy pace of enjoying life and each other’s company.  I am looking forward to returning one day soon!”

Regina, Saskatchewan
Elena Kube – Corporate Travel Consultant

The Saskatoon Valkyries vs the Regina Women_s Tackle Football team of the WWCFL Elena

“Saskatoon Valkyries vs. the Regina Women’s Tackle Football team of the WWCFL”

 

Revelstoke, British Columbia
Casie Schmidt – Leisure Travel Consultant

Revelstoke2 Casie

“Road trips are my favorite! Yes, flying to places gets you there faster but I enjoy the journey getting to the destination. I have family that live in Revelstoke and I hadn’t been out there in about fifteen years so I thought it was time I went for a visit. Plus I wanted to go snowboarding and my auntie lives 5 minutes from the mountain, win, win! My friend and I drove to Calgary and spent the night there then snowboarded at Lake Louise before heading to our final destination. Between Golden and Revelstoke travel was not recommended. We decided to still go anyway just taking it slow. It may have been one of the scariest drives of my life but definitely worth it! We snowboarded two days and one of them I even got to enjoy with my cousins. Revelstoke is my favorite mountain so far and I highly recommend it if you ski or snowboard.”

 

Prince Edward Island
Debra Michell – Accountant

Prince Edward Island

“I’ve dipped my toes in the water from coast to coast, Vancouver Island to PEI, and in the southern most point of Canada at Point Pelee National Park, ON.  One of my favorite “Canada trips” has to be PEI.  Staying in Charlottetown and driving around the Island, Anne of Green Gables, the fall foliage, the red sand beaches, coming across a closed lighthouse but the owner just gave us the keys and said bring them back when you are done exploring … everything about this trip was fantastic!”

 

Spy Hill, Saskatchewan
Correna Tymchen – Leisure Supervisor

snake

“We made the long trek from Saskatoon to Spy Hill, this trip by car is about 4.5 hours each way.  Did you know in the time it takes me to drive to Spy Hill I could have flown to Puerto Vallarta? Just saying!

We made the trip to Spy Hill to help our mom get her yard ready for the winter, pull out the garden mow the grass and put away all her summer yard stuff.  Well, all of a sudden I heard this horrendous scream and seen my sister freaking out, she had seen a little tiny garder snake.  I then see my mom with the garden hoe swinging at the ground like a mad women, I go over to see what the heck was going on and tried to stop mom from committing murder as I could have moved the snake to the field behind the house.  As you can tell in the photo above sadly I was too late.  RIP Hisssss!”

 

Moraine Lake – Alberta
Kyra December – Leisure Travel Consultant

moraine lake kyra 2

“In summer last year, my boyfriend and I took a road trip to Edmonton, Banff, and then camped at Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan.  First stop was Edmonton to enjoy some retail therapy at the West Edmonton Mall and meet up with some friends for some great food.  After spending two days in Edmonton, we decided to head on over to Banff to see Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. This was both our first times visiting both these lakes and they are both beautiful with my favorite being Moraine Lake.  We spent one night in Canmore to be close to Banff so that we could visit Banff a couple times before heading back to Saskatchewan to finish our road trip with some camping at Anglin Lake.  We tented and enjoyed some campfires, fishing, walking and just relaxing.  This road trip was my favorite Canada travel so far and I plan to venture further out in our beautiful country!”

 

Johnston Canyon – Banff National Park
Stephanie Afseth – Leisure Travel Consultant
Steph Canyon

“My favorite Canada memory is hiking Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park. The first time I went, my husband and I were just dating and we found this beautiful waterfall. I told him that I wanted to be proposed to under this waterfall. Well, it didn’t happen but we went back to Johnston Canyon the year after we got married and hiked back down to the same waterfall. It’s off the main path, so no one else was down there. It was just us and the roar of the water.”

To see more of our Canada travel photos check out our video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFt6wWmPhRc

What is your favourite Canada travel moment?   We would love hear from you!

If you are planning a trip within Canada this summer, be sure to give us a call!  We’re here to help and you could win a free flight and Maple Leaf Lounge pass by booking with us!

Sutherland:  306-955-1449
Circle Drive:  306-934-3400

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Casie Goes To Italy – Part 3

As wonderful as the hiking was we decided to take a break and explore Capri. Our group took a private boat to the island of Capri. It was a nice change looking at the islands from a new perspective instead of from above. We went through the Tunnel of Love, into town, visited the Blue Grotto and enjoyed the views of other little islands around.

Exploring the town was neat. We took a chairlift up to the top for a view overlooking the island (also easier than hiking). Capri is a more “high class” island when it comes to shopping so we didn’t do too much. Once again we had lunch with a breathtaking view.

After leaving Capri we ventured through more of the islands. Taking us to the Blue Grotto! It was one of my favourite parts of the trip but it was very short. They took us in little boats and do a quick tour (maybe 5 minutes). The cost for us was 14EUR per person.

Travel Tip: when they take you into the Blue Grotto they will ask if you want to go swimming then charge you more after you’re out so be careful.

 

Overall I can’t say enough good things about my experience with G Adventures and Local Living in the Amalfi Coast.  Italy is a breathtaking country and I’m so happy I was able to experience it this way.   I just want to say Thank you to G Adventures for the unforgettable week.

If Italy is on your bucket list, give me a shout at 306-955-1449 or casie@uniglobevacation.com.  I would LOVE to help you to plan your dream trip and share with you all of my insider tips and tricks.

Casie Goes to Italy – Part 2

I made it to the Amalfi Coast. It’s breathtaking! I’m not much for big cities so I was happy for a nice change. If you enjoy hiking this is the place for you. We’ve done three so far and they’ve all been challenging but worth every second especially the view at the top. My favorite hike was The Walk of the Gods. We started from the small town of Bomerano and ended in Positano. We explored Positano and had lunch with a beautiful view.

Another hike we did was Valle dei Mulini. On the way up we saw the view of Amalfi, old mills, waterfalls and more. At the top we were rewarded with a peaceful surrounding of trees and the most beautiful waterfall.

The most challenging hike we did was from Amalfi to Ravello. The elevation gain is 2858ft. There were lots and lots of steps upward on a paved pathway. At the time I was wondering why I agreed to this but once I was at the top I felt so accomplished.

As challenging as they are, I would prefer doing hikes rather than taking transfers to the destinations. The smells of fresh flowers and lemons mixed with the views along the way are irreplaceable. Plus picture taking is much easier when you’re standing still verse in a moving vehicle.

 

Travel tip: if you have bad knees or ankles and can’t do stairs the hikes in this area may be difficult for you and are not highly recommended as there are many steps.

 

We are staying at a local farm which is a super neat experience. Its ran by a family which makes you feel very welcomed! They have done a couple food demonstrations for us. One being lasagna and the other was Tiramisu. It’s crazy how much work they put into making fresh pasta. All the food they have cooked us has been wonderful!