Ocean Coral Spring

Ah…Jamaica! Always a welcoming destination.

The Ocean Coral Spring is a fairly new resort. It opened in December 2019, and then had to close in March of 2020. It is now open! It’s approximately 40 minutes from Montego Bay airport. The beautiful views along the way easily distract you from getting bored with the drive.

Checking in can be done online, or at the front desk on arrival. If you have upgraded to the Privilege option, you’ll find a separate desk for all of that.

This resort has a lot to offer. With 8 restaurants to choose from, you will certainly have anything that your heart desires. Reservations are required for the Sakura, but all other restaurants allow you to just show up during their open hours. The coffee shop and Ice Cream shop are also available for in between meals!

Activities are abundant around the resort. There is a 6 lane bowling alley. Be sure to bring a pair of socks with you. Shoes and everything else are provided. The lazy river is available for all ages. It’s a great way to cool off without a lot of effort.
The Daisy area has a waterslide park and play area for the kids. The Water sports center at the beach includes non motorized water sports. The teen club includes a pool table, foosball, video games…no one can be bored at the Ocean Coral Spring!
The theatre holds the evening shows when the weather does not permit for outside shows. And of course, lounging by the beach, or any of the resort pools can fill a day!

All of the rooms at this resort are Junior Suites. Starting with a Garden view, all of the rooms are well appointed and quite large. Other categories are swim up rooms, Daisy Category for views of the water park. Ocean View, Oceanfront, Rooftop and Master Suites are also available. For a real treat, add the Privilege option! You won’t be disappointed.

The Ocean Coral Spring is a beautiful resort worth a visit. It’s close enough to several attractions like the Luminous Lagoon, Martha Brae and even Dunn’s River Falls.
With so many options at the resort, you might just want to hang out there for a week.

When you’re ready! resi@fernwehtrvl.com

The 14 day quarantine

So, you’ve just taken a trip out of the country. On arrival back to Canada, you are currently required to quarantine at home, or somewhere without other people for 14 days. This sounds like a lot, but here are some ways that might make this task a little easier.

This is not my house

Step 1: Before you travel:
Do not attempt to clean your home. This will definitely take up several hours of the 14 days once you get back. It might even be a good idea to make up a schedule to do the cleaning. This schedule writing could potentially use up at least an hour or two of your time.
It’s also important to stock up on food prior to your departure. Of course, it is nice to have someone available that could pick up fresh fruit, veggies etc once you get home.
You can also use a number of different delivery services to order groceries, meals….anything you think you might require.

Step 2: Heading home:
Prior to arriving in Canada, you will now need to download the ArriveCan app. You’ll be able to add your arriving flight details, along with other pertinent information that is required at this time. Every couple of days, you’ll receive an email asking how you’re feeling and if you’re following all the rules that you agreed to. This will eat up a good 5 minutes to answer their questions. This time is really flying by!

Step 3: At home:
Well, here we are for the next 14 days. I’m sure you’ll have some laundry from the trip to do. I would suggest doing 1 load per day. This will extend the job, and will feel as though you have a lot to do.
And now, back to house cleaning. If you left the house in a bit of disarray before your trip, this will be a welcome chore. Again, don’t rush through it.
If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you can also schedule in your work time, which will then make the time seem to go even quicker.
Other suggestions might be an at home work out program, Netflix, video games. The possibilities are endless!

When you consider all the time it will take to do all of these chores, make meals, answer the ArriveCan app questions every other day, you’ll be done with the quarantine before you know it.

resi@fernwehtrvl.com

A Week in Paradise!

Travel has always been so important to me, as it is to many others. Getting away from it all has never seemed more powerful than now.

The Velas Vallarta has been in my radar for some time. To actually go and experience it, was a game changer. This resort was outstanding. From the moment you arrive, every detail is taken care of for you.

Our one bedroom suite had the expansive views of Banderas Bay. With room service included, it was easy to just order in each morning and enjoy these great views.
Speaking of food…. It’s probably good that we had to come home after enjoying so many incredible options either at La Ribera, or Andrea. The Andrea is the restaurant that is currently open for dinner, and La Ribera for breakfast and lunch. Pool and beach service are also available, so you can just relax anywhere and never be without a drink or a snack.

This resort is well established, so the grounds are beautiful to wander through. I had the opportunity to see the resident peacocks wandering around.
Swimming pools are connected by a peaceful narrow waterway that you can walk or float through. The activity pool closest to the beach offers a swim up pool bar, pool volleyball and various other options. It’s easy to just relax anywhere around this resort.

My fave is the beach! Swimming right in front of the hotel was a bit challenging, but definitely doable for the ones braver than me. Every morning would include a walk on the beach and another in the afternoon, and sometimes more in between.

The Velas Vallarta is located very close to the Marina Vallarta. It is an easy 10-15 minute walk. It’s a great place to wander through, with plenty of restaurants and shopping. This was a perfect walk on a cloudy morning to pick up a few things that we just couldn’t live without!

I do believe this resort will be seeing my return. I loved everything about it.

Let me know when you’re ready. resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Ah Mexico!

I’ve never been to Mexico in September. The warm weather trips are usually reserved for January or February. This trip proved to be everything and more!
After several months of restricted travel, it was nice to get out again. Flying, and navigating airports is easy. Having a smart phone at your disposal can speed things up in regard to filling in health questionnaires, but it’s not completely necessary.

I’ve always loved the fact that beaches in Mexico are not private to each resort. So, long beach walks are always a possibility. Finding spots along the walk to swim in the ocean is definitely a bonus.

7 nights at the Ocean Riviera Paradise was a fantastic stay! The resort offers plenty of activities throughout the day and evening. There’s even a bowling alley. This is a perfect place for families, couples, single adults…everyone!

Restaurants were available to book via the H10 app provided by the hotel. This was quick and easy every day, and there were no limits to how many times you’d like to go to any of them. A favorite was Sakura which offers Teppanyaki style cooking. It’s not only fun to watch, but quite delicious! Other restaurants included Italian, Steak house, Mexican, a burger place, and a Caribbean restaurant. There is also a buffet available for breakfast and lunch, and dinner a few times a week. There is one more lunch buffet by the beach for lunch. Mikes Coffee shop, and an ice cream shop are open at various times of the day.

If you’re ready to travel again, the world awaits! It looks a little different than before, but doors are opening!

resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Winnipeg for the Win!

Winnipeg for the Win!

This trip started out as a visit to see family, and became an adventure that surprised me to say the least. Winnipeg and the area has some of the most unique restaurants I’ve been to. The first stop was Pineridge Hollow. This beautiful Farm to Table restaurant offers amazing food, as well as beautiful grounds to wander around and enjoy before or after dining. It’s located near Oakbank, Manitoba, just east of Winnipeg. It is also very close to Birds Hill Park, where you can take in the Winnipeg Folk Festival every July. 

After eating, it’s always important to get in some exercise. This afternoons adventure took us to Assiniboine Park with a stroll through the beautiful Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. The Assiniboine Park Zoo is right next to these gardens. It’s also worth a look if you’ve got time.

It’s been quite some time that I’ve seen a real prairie thunder storm. And luckily, we finished our garden walk just in time to hear the thunder roll, and to see some amazing bolts of lightning.

Saturday started with coffee of course. Then, on to the Manitoba Legislative Building. This building was completed in 1920, and stands 77 meters high. It is famous for its Golden Boy statue at the top. It’s a gold covered bronze statue based on the Roman god Mercury, or the Greek god Hermes.
The “Bears on Broadway” decorate the grounds of the Legislature. The bears celebrate the 75th anniversary of Cancer Care Manitoba.

So, now we’ve walked, we can eat again. On to Baked Expectations on Osborne Street. Do not miss this!

A little more walking back to the car and on to The Forks. You’ll find a wide array of shops and restaurants here. We enjoyed a Cinnamon Bun from the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company. Of course we shared all of these items so there would be room for more! The area around the Forks will offer a lot of photo opportunities.

Our next stop is the Human Rights Museum. This is a must for any visitor to Winnipeg. The purpose of the museum is to “explore the subject of human rights with a special but not exclusive reference to Canada, to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”

This has already been a full day, but, one more stop at Blondies for one more dining experience. Sandy Doyle has been running this place for almost 30 years. People come here for the burgers, shakes, fries and ambiance. She offers a 9 lb burger that requires a $100 damage deposit. If you finish the burger, you’ll get your $100 back. I wasn’t so brave. I shared an 1/8 lb burger with my sister.

Today we travel to Gimli, Manitoba. It is located on the west side of Lake Winnipeg. The community’s first European settlers were from Iceland. They became part of the New Iceland settlement in Manitoba. The settlers sustained themselves primarily from agriculture and fishing.

Gimli beach is a popular summer spot, and every year you can head there for Islendingadagurinn (Icelandic Festival). 2020 will offer a virtual Festival, but definitely keep this in mind for your future adventures. And, of course, food in Gimli… our stop today was at K.F.C., Kris’ Fish & Chips. I planned ahead and shared some delicious pickerel and chips, so that I could join in for the dessert, Eyjafjallajokull. This Island mountain glacier volcano includes my favorite Vinarterta (Icelandic Cake), along with soft vanilla ice cream and more!

If you find yourself in the Winnipeg area, please be sure to check out as much as you can. I was fascinated by the beauty of the wide open prairie, the incredible food, and the friendly people everywhere we went. Add this to your bucket list for 2020!

Take me back to Greece!

I’ve been to Greece twice. The first trip was focused on Athens, followed by a seven night cruise to visit Mykonos, Crete, Patmos, Kusadasi (Turkey), and finally Santorini. All of the islands and Kusadasi have so much history to offer. Flying into Athens is the best place to start. Taking the time to see the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus, many museums, and simply wandering the streets is well worth a few days here.

The cruise ship port is located in Piraeus, the chief sea port of Athens. There are many options to get around the Greek Islands. A cruise ship is always nice, as you’ll be able to unpack and settle in for a few days to discover a few of the islands. Most cruises will include the stop at Kusadasi in Turkey where a visit to Ephesus is a must. The ruins here are high on the list of my favourites in the world.

Of course, Greece has so much more to offer than just their islands. Perhaps you’ve watched the Olympics on TV. In Greece, you can walk among the ruins in Olympia where the Olympics began in 776 BC. In Corinth, you can visit the stunning canal, and in Delphi there is much to learn about the Oracle and how people in ancient times would travel there to seek her wisdom.

A highlight for me was seeing Meteora. The word Meteora translates to “hovering in the air”. There are six monasteries built on the very tops of these geological phenomenons.

 

Both trips to Greece were fantastic. There are places and experiences there that really stand out to me but I will say that so far, my favorite place in Greece is the island of Santorini, officially known as Thira. 

I was lucky enough to spend four nights on this island, and could easily have spent a week or more. It is a place for relaxation, and for some great touring and food. The donkey ride up the hill is exhilarating. 

Santorini is high on my list to revisit. I stayed in the town of Fira, which is located centrally on the island. There are buses that can take you to Oia, the beaches, or wherever you’d like to explore. Car rentals are also an option. I always find that walking is the nicest way to get around, as you’ll see and experience so much more.

Let’s plan to go to Greece!
resi@fernwehtrvl.com

 

Ixtapa 2020

I have to say, I love this place! January 9-16, 2020 was my fourth year in a row to the Azul Ixtapa Grand. The resort just gets better and better all the time. Our group of 26 all enjoyed this week and managed to get in a variety of excursions and relaxation. 7 days goes by quickly.

While the beach in front of the hotel is small, there is a beach to the right, and to the left of the Azul that anyone can access for long walks in the sand, or even some fun swimming time in the ocean. A short walk along the boardwalk joins up with a beach that connects you to the Ferry dock for Ixtapa Island. 50 pesos will get you over to the island and back. You’ll also find Playa Linda at that end of the beach. The little village offers a few restaurants, and some opportunities for shopping. Or maybe a massage? Some are available for 250 pesos!
Nearby the village is the Crocodile Reserve. Be sure to stop in to see a lot of crocs, and some great varieties of birds.

Ixtapa is just a short bus, or cab ride away if you’re looking for more shops and restaurants. Franks Bar is a popular hang out in Ixtapa and worth stopping by while you wait for your friends to finish their shopping.

The resort offers 3 pools, including an adults only quiet pool, a swim up pool bar, and an activity pool. You’ll also find a very nice gym if you are so inclined. Kayaking to Ixtapa Island is included, along with cycling tours.  This resort offers so much! The disco opens at 11:00pm, so I have yet to experience that!

There are a lot of dining options to choose from. The Buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. A la carte restaurants include Italian, Asian, and Mexican, as well as the Oyster Bar. The snack bar near the infinity pool is a personal fave for lunch.

Sunsets, or watching the moon set..all rooms have an ocean view, so you’ll never miss all the beauty this resort has to offer! Ixtapa 2021 prices are coming soon

Cabo San Lucas

This was actually my first time in Cabo San Lucas. Years ago, I had spent part of a day here while on a Mexican Riviera cruise. We spent a week at the RIU Palace Baja California this time.

This resort is directly on the beach and also allows access to the RIU Santa Fe and the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas. There are 600 rooms at this resort and it’s set up quite nicely, so you’re never really going too far to get to the 4 pools,  6 restaurants, 5 bars and even the pool parties next door at the RIU Santa Fe. We walked on the beach every day. There are a lot of beach vendors selling pretty much everything. We didn’t purchase anything, but had a lot of great conversations. It’s about a 45 minute walk to the beautiful Cabo San Lucas Marina. Once there, you’ll find a great variety of shops and restaurants, including the famous Cabo Wabo. And if you don’t feel like walking, a cab is $14 USD each way.

Like anywhere, there are plenty of tours to take in. One of the most popular is a trip via boat to the Arch of Cabo San Lucas. This is a distinctive rock formation that is used in advertising Cabo. We had a great view of the arch from our hotel.  It’s a busy area and has a lot to offer. Other interesting tours that might intrigue you….Camel rides, ATV’s, swimming with whale sharks just to mention a few.

el-arco-de-cabo-san-lucas

Having access to 2 other resorts was great. If we walked along the beach, we could stop in at either resort for a snack, or something to drink. The Santa Fe has a water park with several waterslides for those that are interested.

All in all, it was a great week. Relaxing and enjoying everything around us, and meeting new people.

If this destination, or any other in the world intrigues you, I’d love to get you there!
resi@fernwehtrvl.com

 

Road Trip!

What does a travel agent do when they aren’t able to travel for a while? They dream about places to go, and live vicariously through clients that are booking their trips!
When I was finally more mobile and able to do something, I took a road trip to Montana. Total driving time to our destination is about 11 hours. We decided to break up the trip by stopping in Ritzville, Washington on the way there, and Moses Lake, Washington on the way home.

Ritzville is a very small place along the I-90. The population is around 2000 people, but they’ve got a lot of restaurants, including a starbucks. Great hotel options as well. We spent one night at the Best Western Bronco Inn. I love the scenery around this area.

With such a diverse landscape, it’s  great area to just go for a drive. You may have to make more than one trip to see it all. Some of the best things to check out along the way include basalt canyons, rolling pasturelands, the Yakima River, peaceful forests, mountains and the mighty Columbia River.

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Once we arrived at our destination, we stayed with family and enjoyed our accommodations immensely. They will be offering this as an Air B&B in the future, so if you ever find yourself in the Kalispell area, this might be the perfect place for you to stay. It’s a short drive to Glacier National Park, and many beautiful lakes. With it’s close proximity to Blacktail ski resort, and Whitefish, this would be a great winter destination as well.

All in all, this was a fantastic journey. It was great to get out in the world again.
Now…planning the next trip!

Contact me to book yours  resi@fernwehtrvl.com

 

Norwegian Bliss

This is the biggest cruise ship to ever visit Vancouver! The Bliss can accommodate about 4200 passengers. They have sailed to Alaska all summer and are able to make this stop on Sunday September 30. The ship will have to wait to depart until 1:30am, the following day in order to fit under the Lions Gate Bridge. This will allow for the tides to drop enough for them to cruise under it.

After departing Vancouver, the Bliss will cruise to Victoria, BC, San Francisco, and then Los Angeles. On a ship this size, you may never want to leave! They offer go karts on the largest race track at sea.

Complimentary dining options include 3 main dining rooms,  a buffet and a variety of casual cafes, grills and on-the-go choices, you will never find yourself hungry. You’ll also find some great specialty restaurants on board. They may have a la carte pricing or a per person fee. You can buy specialty dining packages in advance for 3-14 specialty meals. You can often find special promotions which include the specialty dining for free!

Are you ready to cruise?  resi@fernwehtrvl.com

 

 

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