• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.

 

USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

Panama Itinerary

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Panama City itself is actually three cities in one. La Vieja is the ancient ruined city that the Spaniards burned down on the approach of the pirate Henry Morgan. He still sacked the remainder of the city and stayed a month to ensure he had squeezed all the gold out of the inhabitants. Then there is Casco Antiguo with its Spanish feel, boutique hotels and excellent bars and restaurants and finally the modern city of business skyscrapers and interesting architecture.

Certainly, visit the Miraflores Lock on the old canal to learn about its construction and to watch the huge ship navigate the lock. But also head to the rainforest in a powered dugout to meet the indigenous tribes that still live their traditional lives here.

Finally, finish on a white sand, palm fringed beach on the Caribbean. Home of clear warm water and ideal for spectacular snorkelling and diving.

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Panama

A country that has so much more to offer than just the Panama Canal (well two canals as the new one is up and running).

Day 1:              Panama City

Day 4:              Bocas del Toro

Day 7:              Panama City

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Description

 

Day 1

As you descend in to the International airport, look out for the islands and the huge number of vessels awaiting their turn to navigate the Panama Canal. The new canal takes the largest of the ships waiting. While here ensure you explore the 3 different aspects of the City – an insight in to the influence of Europe on this region.

Certainly you should explore the Casco Antiguo, the Spanish part of the city, as it is lively and has an array of good restaurants and bars. Be here for sundown and join the locals parading along the waterfront before deciding where to eat.

On another day take the powered dugout to the village of Embera Drua, well up stream and deep in the rainforest. You will be made very welcome and have a chance to learn about the tribe’s traditional way of life. Fresh fish from the river will be your lunch before you head back down river.

On the way back, stop at Miraflores Lock to watch the boats traversing the isthmus on the Canal. There is an excellent little museum here and information centre about the construction of the Canal.

3 nights Panama

 

Day 4

Time to relax on the beach or take your snorkel out over the coral reefs to see the amazing colours of the coral and all the fish here. Very much a get away from it all destination. With 7 major islands to choose from and Bocas Town being clapboard houses down by the waters edge, you are long way from the big hotel chains found elsewhere.

3 nights Bocas del Toro

 

Day 7

Back to Panama City to connect with your onward flight. Perhaps home but you could make this part of a trip that includes Costa Rica.

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Little Gems

 

Enjoying the freewheeling life at the village of Embera Drua. While everything was put on for our benefit, everyone seemed so happy that we had made the effort to visit them.

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Country: Panama

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Panama is a small country situated at the southern end of the Central American isthmus. Rightly famous for its 82km ship canal running from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean, it is very much more than just this. With a booming economy and a growing tourist industry it offers you history, pristine rainforests with abundant wildlife and indigenous tribes and Panama City – three cities in one. This is a year round destination with tropical weather throughout the year and a dry season that runs from November to April.

Panama City firstly offers you the ancient ruined part known as La Vieja, the original Spanish city that they burned down when the Spanish authorities heard that Henry Morgan was on his way to capture the city.  Casco Antiguo grew up a short distance from the original and still has a very Spanish feel to it. Home to boutique hotels, interesting bars and restaurants it is a place to explore and enjoy yourself. Finally there is the modern skyscraper city that is lively and with some interesting architecture.

 

Away from the city you could transit the Panama Canal as an experience or just visit the locks at Miraflores which house a museum on the construction of the first Canal and a cafe with views over the lock so that you can watch the precision needed for large ships navigating their ways to and from the Caribbean and Pacific. The second Canal is already in operation and again worth viewing as it takes larger vessels along it.

 

Just a short distance from the city, you could be climbing into a powered dugout boat and racing up a fast river deep in the rainforest to meet the indigenous tribe that lives here. Enjoy time learning how they exist in the forest, their tribal structure, their herbal medicines, their arts and craft and even a dance or two. Perhaps include trek through the cloud forest at Boquete looking at the truly colourful flora and bird life.

In addition you could be lazing on the palm fringed white sandy beaches of Bocas del Toro. Here the waters are clear – ideal for swimming, diving and snorkelling.

All in all there are plenty of reasons to holiday in Panama or combine it with a trip to Costa Rica.

 

 

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

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