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February 28, 2020 9 min read
If you've read through the first series of our travel blog - Expert's Guide to British Columbia, we've taken the venture far & throughout the province, unique locations in their own way, with nature's wildlife & beauty. Living in a province with mountains & rainforests, where adventures are aplenty, we forget there's a world full of experiences to consider on our personal travel bucket-list. Looking past our comfort-zone of British Columbia, we now take our travel destinations one step further.
Our must-visit destinations in eight-hour flights from Vancouver, BC or less encompass diverse experiences and accommodations. Some highly-recognized from travel experts, while others only discovered through word-of-mouth or personal experience. From sleeping in an Ice Hotel to night snorkeling with Manta Rays, these beautiful destinations are not too distant from home, but far enough to relax in utter paradise.
Courtesy of Sands Hotel & Spa, Whisper Rock Ranch
LOCATION - Palm Springs, California
EXPERIENCES - Biking | Hiking | Palm Springs Art Museum | Sunrise Hot Air Balloon | Hot Springs | Tramway
A popular spot which doesn't need further introduction, situated in Riverside County, California is the beautiful desert-resort city of Palm Springs. With plenty of sunshine and minuscule amounts of rain throughout the year, it comes as no surprise many travellers choose to spend their trip here.
The city boasts mid-century modern architecture amidst the natural beauty of the sun-beat mountains and tall palm trees in every part. Joshua Tree National Park is an amazing place for hiking & biking that offers views of natural rock formations and unique trees. Unless you're a heat aficionado, visiting between January-April will have you basking in average temperatures 20-30ºc (60-80ºF).
ACCOMMODATION - Whisper Rock Ranch or Sands Hotel & Spa
The Whisper Rock Ranch is a architectural sanctuary perched high above the tranquil desert floor, with a breath-taking 360 degree view. Relax in the California sun on the wooden deck complete with a swimming pool, hot tub, and cozy lounge-chairs. The elegant interior design & decor is just as stunning.
Designed for absolute tranquility and picture-worthy moments, the Sands Hotel & Spa was named on Condé Nast Traveler's 2019 Hot List. The Moroccan-inspired stay boasts their beautiful Spa and the esteemed Pink Cabana restaurant & bar. Did we mention the palm trees looming over the lounge chairs & pool? Who could forget it!
Photo courtesy of Wine Train & Sterling Vineyards
LOCATION - Napa Valley, California
EXPERIENCES - Wine Train Tour | Sterling Vineyards | Spa | Hot Air Balloon | Lake Berryessa | Castle Wine Tour
Wine lovers paradise! Napa Valley is highly recognized as the industries wine growing region, having a perfect climate to not only host lush grapevines, but to enjoy them too. Taste fresh wines while exploring the valley inside an elegant train that tours from Downtown Napa to St.Helen, and back. Or do a quick aerial tram up to the beautiful Sterling Vineyards, where you can indulge in wine with a view, 300ft above the city.
The largest lake in the county, Lake Berryessa is a reservoir for the Napa Valley and a great location for a light stroll. A big feature is the giant hole-spillway, and is not to be missed.
ACCOMMODATION - Poetry Inn
A small but private luxury stay, the Poetry Inn is nestled hillside in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, overlooking plush vineyards. The open view is perfect to relax and watch the golden sunset. Amenities of the Poetry Inn include delictable daily breakfast, pool & jacuzzi, and of course, a wine cellar fully stocked with only the best from Napa Valley.
Photo courtesy of Hotel de Glace
LOCATION - Quebec City, Quebec
EXPERIENCES - Snow tubing | Snowshoeing | Skiing | Montreal | Montmorency Falls | Old Quebec
A large modern-metropolis of antiquity, and a plethora of experiences to discover; Quebec City, the capital of Quebec, is the perfect place to embrace a chilly holiday. Filled with many outdoor activities all winter long, this is the ideal location for couples and families alike. Be sure to make a point of visiting their winter carnival in early February.
Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see place during your travel. A fortified city that takes visitors back in-time. A place where you can enjoy fresh cuisine with a view of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a fortress that stands impeccably tall, and stays perfectly visible throughout the city.
ACCOMMODATION - Hotel de Glace
Also known at the Ice Hotel, this ingenious accommodation concept stays true to Quebec's cold climate and the fantasy of wanting to experiences living in an igloo - albeit a very chic igloo.
Hotel de Glace situated inside the Valcartier parks means you can enjoy the day at the winter playground, discover & try new restaurants, and ease any tension away with a visit to the Aroma spa.
Photo courtesy of Santa Catalina Facebook
LOCATION - Santa Catalina Island, California
EXPERIENCES - Spa | Scuba-diving | Catalina Island Museum | Golf | Parasailing
The Catalina Island is the perfect escape for a romantic holiday. Snorkel at Lover's Cove in the morning, ride a bicycle for two to your lunch spot, take a moonlit walk along the shore, and then unwind in your accommodation with the serene view of the ocean.
Find time to explore the island on a eco-tour Jeep, sighting unique wildlife like bison in the expedition. Do the beaten path and visit the Catalina Island Museum or grab a photo around the architecturally striking Catalina Island Casino. Our favourite, a parasail tour, with the warm breeze in your hair - overlooking the impeccable view of Santa Catalina and it's coastline.
ACCOMMODATION - Island Style Quarters
Immediately, breath-taking ocean views and a relaxing interior design. This island style quarters is located north at Hamilton Beach, neighbouring the main city of Avalon where delicious diners & bars are a plenty.
Treat yourself. Mix yourself a refreshing mocktail and find your quiet spot on one of the large sofas, or open the French doors and let the gentle wind of the ocean take you away.
Photo courtesy of Paradise Helicopter Tour
LOCATION - Hilo, Hawaii
EXPERIENCES - Manta Ray Night Snorkel | Surfing | ATV Tours | Volcano Tours | Liliu'okalani Garden
Hilo, the largest city located on the East Coast of the Big Island. Hawaii is known for it's lush soil, and Hilo is no different. Having been recognized as the orchid capital of the world, where you have a hard time stumbling upon beautiful arrays of these plants.
To get an aerial view of the natural beauty that is Hilo, book a private helicopter tour around the island. Those looking to literally feel the heat, take a tour to visit the active volcano of Mauna Loa. And don't worry, it's safe! In the evening, be prepared for one of the most memorable experiences, and the only place you'll come across it. Under the stars of nightfall, dive into the waters and experience snorkelling with Manta Rays. Some an appalling 16 ft. across, weighing in over 1000 lbs.
ACCOMMODATION - The Hilo House, Airbnb
A holiday with family or friends? The Hilo House can host 14-guests, and has enough square-footage to keep everyone together without being cramped or split into multiple accommodations. Cook your own meals like a local and take a quick stroll to grab fresh Hawaiian pineapple and veggies from the Hilo market nearby.
Visit the tranquil Liliu'okalani Garden only minutes away during the day and stop by the beach and a drink. With only a short distance from the airport, the Hilo House makes for a cozy & accessible stay.
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort
LOCATION - Costa Rica
EXPERIENCES - Zip lining | Surfing | Jungle tours | Jaco beach & town | Visit San José
Located in the heart of Central America, stretching from the North Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is a must-see destination. The country is home to a wide variety of natural wildlife and activities - from jungle tours to relaxing on one of its 300 beaches.
Any stay would not be complete without a visit to Jaco. Just a couple hour drive from Costa Rica's capital, a little more off the beaten path, sits a beautiful beach-town. Known for its surf waves, casual but tasty restaurants, and carefree ambiance. There is no place better to have you leaving refreshed and glowing (whether from the cuisine, or that newly acquired tan).
ACCOMMODATION - Four Season Resort
A renowned luxury stay, the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica will take your breath away. Four-chic outdoor pools, a golf course, and endless water activities for all. This paradise is a piece of heaven on earth.
Get dressed in your most relaxing outfit and visit the wellness spa, where you can treat yourself to a Costa Rican coffee body scrub. Equally as delicious is the Italian cuisine and seafood at Swish Di Mare.
Photo courtesy of Amanyara Resort
LOCATION - Turks and Caicos
EXPERIENCES - Snorkeling Grace Bay Beach | Private Catamaran | Visit Iguana Island | Whale watching | Eco-hike
The clear waters of Turks and Caicos is a seemingly utopian location that couldn't be missed on our list of must-experience destinations. Lined by its beautiful coastal waters, be sure to stop by the white sands of Grace Bay Beach and snorkel the coral reef yourself.
For a more private experience, book an elegant catamaran with a group (or not) that will take you to the many remote areas like Little Water Cay (Iguana Island). Or simply enjoy the relaxing heat in the infinity pool with a drink in one hand and a good book in the other.
ACCOMMODATION - Amanyara Resort
Exclusive and private luxury resort Amanyara boasts the highest level of service. This elegantly styled resort will calm the mind and body. With a focus on overall wellbeing, feel rejuvenated after visiting one of their treatment pavilions. Our pick is a series of holistic skincare treatments surrounded by essentials oils, followed by a visit to the outdoor yoga shala.
For the travellers looking for something a little more special, the Amanyara offers exclusive experiences like their 'Romance by the shoreline', a beautifully catered dinner inches away from the waves. The beautiful scenery, chic-accommodation, and unique experiences is what makes Turks & Caicos an acclaimed destination on our travel-list.
Photo courtesy of Russell Hotel
LOCATION - Nashville, Tennessee
EXPERIENCES - Live-music bars | Farm Market | Whiskey tour | The Frist Art Museum | Centennial Park | Country Music Hall of Fame
A city known for not only fostering talent and skill in the music industry, Nashville is also a major hub for commerce and places a high emphasis on education. Music enthusiasts, be sure to stop by and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
The city offers some of the best BBQ restaurants and cocktail bars that can be found in the state. The Fox Bar & Cocktail in particular has an old-world flare with a modern drink menu. For an experience that's a little more outgoing, head with a group of friends to the downtown Broadway area for bars & live-music.
ACCOMMODATION - The Russell Hotel
The artistic style of the Russell Hotel does more than offer a pleasant stay for the body & eyes, but also gives back to the communities in Nashville. The turned 115 year old church explains the accommodations modern yet, antique characteristics. Named in 'Nashville's coolest neighbourhood' by Vogue, the tech driven, concierge-less boutique makes it a completely unique stay.
LOCATION - Havana, Cuba
EXPERIENCES - Fototeca de Cuba | Visit Varadero Beach | Plaza de la Catedral | Visit H. Upmann Cigar Factory | Playa Guardalavaca | Playa Pillar
A beautiful blend of old & new, from preserved vintage styles to modern accommodations, Havana's charming climate and historic culture is like none other.
Take a moment to relish in historic Old Havana lined with vibrant coloured buildings. Then, from there, enjoy a scenic 8km malecon (esplanade) overlooking the coast. Escape the crowds and visit Playa Pilar on the edge of Cayo Guillermo Island. Nothing but privacy and clear waters. Or, if you're into some music and dancing, make your way to Tato's beach shake at Playa Manglito.
ACCOMMODATION - Hotel Manzana Kempinski la Habana
The first luxury hotel in Cuba, the Kempinski La Habana is perfectly situated in the heart of Old Havana. Featuring modern design, which is somehow in harmony with the vibrant UNESCO World Heritage buildings.
Soak in the panoramic view from the San Cristobal restaurant, specializing in delicious Caribbean seafood. Enthusiasts of torcedor can enjoy classic Cuban cigars & rum in the hotels Evocacion Tobacco Lounge, inspired by the Habanos culture and production. When in Havana, experience the old world in a modern way.
Unique adventures aren't usually in most conventional places. As you may have learned, there's extraordinary experiences across the globe. All you have to do it discover them. Additionally, having pre-planned your travel essentials will help make planning a breeze.
Preparing for Spring Break, Summer, or just in need of a quick getaway? If you've chosen one of our destination spots or a place of your own, we'd love for you to take us on your travel plans along the way! Be sure to tag us @slocation !