W O R L D
Winter / Spring 2014
C a p pa d o c i a , Turkey
E a s t e r I s l a n d * Pa r i s *
FloridA * Island *
ady e r Al ven Ele rs! Yea
Asia * North America * Europe * Africa * Oceania * South America
C a p pa d o c i a
Come With Us & See The World!
A word from the editors elcome to the Winter/Spring 2014 Issue of Canadian World Traveller, which is being distributed across Greater Montreal, as well as in select locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
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Canadian World Traveller
In this issue we explore the history and beautiful natural wonders of Cappadocia, Turkey. We then head south to Africa to visit truly Magical Kenya before going to the fabulous Indian beaches of Goa. Our journey continues as we discover what is uniquely New Zealand then briefly travel north to indulge in the great cuisine of Florida and down-under again to â€˜The Middle of Nowhereâ€™ as we explore Easter Island, Chile. At the other end of the world we visit the exciting big city of Paris and then head to the new world, first to Vancouver Island for the spectacular Herring season catch and then finally to relax in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
4055, Ste-Catherine Street West, Suite 158 Westmount, Qc Canada H3Z 3J8 Tel.: (514) 667-2293 www.canadianworldtraveller.com Email: email@example.com Publisher Michael Morcos Editor-in-chief Greg James Graphic Artist Al Cheong Advertising Leo Santini Marketing Tania Tassone Distribution Royce Dillon Contributors: Natalie Ayotte, Muna Abdullahi Omar, Priya Shah, Ruth Atherley, Steven Sanders A. M. Macloughlin, Ryan Bowman and Vanessa Gotthainer. Front Cover Photo by Michael Morcos: Soganli (Onion) Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey Disclaimer: Canadian World Traveller has made every effort to verify that the information provided in this publication is as accurate as possible. However, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from the information contained herein nor for any information provided by our advertisers.
hy spend days recovering when you can take this homeopathic remedy during the flight and feel fresher upon arrival at your destination. 32 tablets in each packet - sufficient for 45 hours flying time.
Tel.: 514-933-3302 - Fax : 514-933-8311 Toll-free : 1-888-359-9355 - Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
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F l o r i d a
C W T
With an Appetite
C a p pa d o c i a Sixty million years in the making
Easter Island The Middle of Nowhere 16
The Beauty and Magic of
Pa r i s
Is Always on
I n d i a My Favourite Goa Beaches
Va n c o u v e r I s l a n d Spring Spawn Spectacle
5 Things You Might Not Know About 26
M e x i c o Riviera Nayarit is heating up this year!
C a p pa d o
Sixty million years in the makin by Michael Morcos
c i a
s the midday sun beats down, I can picture George Lucas taking notes and mental images of this wonderfully magical terrain in central Turkey. Those notes and images are said to have inspired him to create the hugely successful Star Wars movies, and particularly the scenery that was to be used for his own distant land. While I’m no Star Wars buff, that first glimpse as my eyes panned the vista upon arrival was what felt like the glimpse of another world. Layers of ‘fairy chimneys’ - which were created by Mother Nature herself over thousands of years thanks to wind and water erosion of some force – rise up with a brilliant inconsistency, while churches dating back 1500 years jostle alongside an array of boutique hotels, and that’s just scratching the surface. Below the ground one can explore some of the 36 underground cities – some which are remarkably connected by tunnels – as well as a selection of museums and fortresses. Where to begin?
Centre of the Turkish World Until recent times, Cappadocia was never an easy place to reach. Istanbul is a 1012 hour drive away whilst those on the sunny coasts of Marmaris and Bodrum can expect a drive of up to 14 hours, leaving the region also known as Kapadokya inaccessible to day trippers. For this reason a good tour operator is a necessity and Travel Xclusive were the team on hand to ensure not only a smooth, reasonable flight from Istanbul See Cappadcia on page 10
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
was checked off, but also they provided us with quality lodgings in the best part of the region along with invaluable tips on where, when, and how to do the things that interested us personally. The company are the experts in all Turkey related travel, and we even had the pleasure of meeting the owner Zee and her husband who were more than pleased to roll out the red carpet for us, as they are with any customer.
The Other Side of Cave Living After a swift airport transfer we rocked up at Kelebec Cave Hotels where we were greeted by the hotel’s owner Mohamed who would eventually go on to make our trip very special. Mohamed and his parents started from scratch and are now providers of quality accommodation and unique tours throughout the region. The Kelebec cave hotels do not feel as such as the have added stone facades and windows to all of the rooms; no two are alike. There are modern showers, electricity and hard wooden floors complemented by all of the amenities you would expect from a great hotel. The grounds are on a mountain slope and have plenty of comfortable places dotted around to sit and relax in your own space, including a flower garden, a swimming pool, a Turkish style spa, and the main eating area on top, fantastic for a romantic evening meal or an early sunrise breakfast. Our stay at the Kelebec Cave hotels provided us with some lasting memories, and we were even a little fortunate with our timing. Every full moon, Mohamed invites guests to his parents old living quarter for a memorable outdoor dinner. This was situated way off the beaten track and the journey there was a joy itself, riding along an old tracker pulled wagon before a short walk down a steep hill to reach the seemingly hidden cave. An evening of Cappadocian cuisine prepared on a wooden stove, local musicians and traditional dance made for a local experience like no other.
continued as we were invited back to pick grapes and make grape juice in the old traditional way - by stomping on them. The juice is then boiled in a large pot on a wood fire. Whilst getting involved like a professional, it struck me that whilst the region is mostly mountainous the locals are still able to grow just about anything from fruits and vegetables to berries and nuts. We rounded off the afternoon with some fresh vegetables and chicken for lunch, in an area so relaxing that the napping pets that hang around will encourage you to take a siesta.
Above it All Very touristic with reason; one of the most well-known sights of modern day Cappadocia is that of the gentle hot air balloons that soar above the landscape, crowning the region as one of the top destinations in the world for this relaxing yet exhilarating method of sightseeing. Cappadocia is blessed with excellent flying conditions for most of the year, and set off early morning with Butterfly Balloons whose expertise and professionalism made us feel more than comfortable throughout. We were picked up by the crew before sunrise, and after the breezy launch we floated silently above the moonscape, peering down at the jagged formations freckled with sleepy villages and vineyards. The trip lasted around one hour, offering out of this world views and is a must for visitors to Cappadocia.
Off the Beaten Track The hardened traveler normally gets the well-known attractions out the way early before delving deeper. While my trip so far hadn’t exactly consisted of long lines and elbowing through crowds, I did feel that we were about to embark on a new adventure away from the hoardes. We contacted Turkish Heritage Travel, who arranged a wonderful two day tour of the alternative, starting with the old Greek town of Mustafapaşa, formerly known as
The following morning our full immersion See Cappadcia on page 12
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Sinasos. Mustafapaşa offers wonderful examples of ancient Greek architecture through the wonderful old houses and workshops. After a morning taking in the sights, we headed to Sobessos, a 4th century AD town which is still in the process of excavation after its 2001 discovery. The excavation has so far unearthed a Roman bathhouse, a meeting room which consists of a vibrant, mosaic flooring, and several tombs and graves amongst other intriguing insights into the areas past. The following day provided the perfect opportunity to dust off the hiking boots and hit the trails. Cappadocia is bestrewn with open air trails for all levels offering majestic scenery. For those looking for serenity and a piece of the Cappadocian landscape to themselves, there are a few options that remain. Up until recently, the Ihlara Gorge was just that. The gorge, a once lush river valley, was the region’s best kept secret that few foreign visitors had known about. After the initial discovery the gorge was living on borrowed time with regards to its reputation as an off the beaten track destination. The whispers soon became part of every tour in region, and the gorge of today is far from your own. There are however, alternatives. Halfway between Derinkuyu and Yeşilhisar lies Soğanlı, also known as Onion Valley. The location of Soğanlı results in far fewer visitors than Ihlara Gorge, and the first glimpse of the not-so-aesthetically pleasing buildings provides additional evidence to search further afield. Once past this, we encountered typical Cappadocian architecture and several valleys which pass 14th century churches with remarkably maintained interiors and surroundings that rival all of the more touristy hikes in the region.
Going Underground After a fantastic vegetarian lunch, we were driven to Derinkuyu Underground City, an 18 stories deep network of tunnels connecting a plethora of residencies, wine cellars, communal rooms, stables and chapels. Today a major tourist attraction, it’s difficult to feel impressed by what Derinkuyu offered to the local people all those years ago. A
well-functioning ventilation system alongside a self-containing fresh water supply allowed inhabitants to live comfortably, while the huge arch shaped doors weighing up to 1000 lbs kept potential invaders at bay – a theory many scholars believe to be the reasoning behind the construction of these subterranean metropolises. After an educating afternoon we were left to our own devices, where we headed to the Goreme Open-Air Museum. The UNESCO World Heritage site is an must see for anyone visiting Cappadocia, and offers a wealth of churches and chapels carved into the rocks and standing side by side, some of which are decorated with Maltese crosses and remarkably maintained frescoes of St. George and St. Catherine along with others of biblical scenes. It’s important to arrive with a good guide or guidebook to fully understand the differences between the churches, and the representation they hold. When leaving the museum, be sure to visit the Tokalı Kilise (Buckle Church), which is situated on the other side of the road. Many believe this to be the highlight of the tour, and the entrance is included on the same ticket.
If You Go Although a little out of the way, Cappadocia is still one of the most visited places in Turkey, and numbers are growing due to increased accessibility. Spring and autumn are the most comfortable months to visit with regards to tourist numbers and weather. It is almost guaranteed to snow every winter between December and February, with this being a major attraction for some tastes. Summers are hot but temperatures can drop any night of the year so warm clothing is recommended. Our Cappadocia experience was made even more magic by the professionalism and expertize of Travel Xclusive, who catered for every one of our needs with minimal fuss.
The Beauty and Magic of
Kenya by Muna Abdullahi Omar
enya is known as a land of smiles, hence the saying: Hakuna Matata! It means: "No worries!" Kenyans are by nature delightful, polite and hardworking people. Kenya has heavily invested in its tourism industry and the quality of service of its hotels and restaurants is very high. But it's the astounding natural beauty of its parks and reserves that make Kenya the most popular safari destination in all of Africa!
Parks Galore Kenya, one of Africa's most popular destinations, lies astride the equator on the eastern coast of Africa. It has the strongest economy in East Africa. It shares its borders with Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda and has coastlines along the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria. The commitment of the Kenyan government to conservation in designated game and national parks has resulted in Kenya having a higher proportion of such land uses than any other country in East Africa.
A Lively Capital The capital, Nairobi, is lively city that offers something for everyone. Private rental cars and minibuses, widely known as daladalas, can be seen everywhere on the streets of the city. Nairobi is a city that never sleeps. At almost anytime of day or night you can see shopkeepers and young professionals making their way to or from work. For those who love shopping, chic boutiques are everywhere. At night, the city really comes to life in popular bars and discothèques in centre of town; in fashionable restaurants and nightclubs of big hotels; and in typical Kenyan eateries serving Nyama-choma (barbecued meat). However, there are more things to do, places to go and attractions to see in Kenya than those in bustling Nairobi.
beest and other antelope is one of the most amazing natural spectacles that all visitors should experience. Game can be seen year round, but mass migrations take place in May to June, July to August and again in September to October. It is estimated that each year, around one million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra and other antelope gather up their young and start their long trek from Tanzania's Serengeti Plains, in search of food and water. To this end, they cross the border to Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. On their journey the animals cover a distance of around 1,800 miles. Witnessing thousands of animals on the plains of Serengeti and Masai Mara is a stunning experience, but the must-see spectacle is the river crossing as the herds gather to cross the Grumeti River (Tanzania) and the Mara River (Kenya).
Kenya’s Coastline Kenya's lovely coastline is an astonishing holiday destination with Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city with just over 700,000 people, leading the way in the development of a world-class resort. Mombasa really is a tropical paradise with exotic flowers, long stretches of white beaches and hideaway coves shaded by lofty palms. Mombasa is also the best place to try the delectable Swahili cuisine. Located on the island bearing the same name, Mombasa is connected to the mainland by ferries and bridges. The island city has a large commercial harbour and is served by Moi International Airport, which offers flights to many cities around the world. Mombasa, an Arabic name that means "to speak in public", reflects Mombassa's original role as an international trading and meeting centre. The Arab influence is still felt even today in the "old town", the heart of Mombasa.
Kenya’s People Currently, there are more than 40 different ethnic groups living in Kenya. The main tribes are Kikuyu, Meru, Kalenjin, Luyha, Luo, Kisii, Kamba, Swahili, Kalenjin, Masai, and Turkana. There are also some small minority groups living in the coastal regions consisting mainly of Muslims, Arabs, ArabAfrican mixes and Southeast Asians.
The Masai Masai were originally nomadic people spread across Tanzania and Kenya. They are arguably the best-known and most recognizable people in Kenya. The Masai (Maasai), a pastoral people, traditionally bred humped zebu cattle. They herded their cattle freely across the highlands of Kenya and lived mainly on milk, blood and meat from their cattle. See Kenya on page 18
Flamingo Paradise The top tourist attractions in the rest of Kenya include the Masai Mara Game Reserve, the resort town of Mombasa, the island of Malindi and much, much more.
Wild Animals Abound Kenya is adorned with over 50 national parks, game reserves and marine parks, and numerous safari and tour operators offer a wide variety of ways to visit them. The migration of millions of zebra, wilde-
In the Rift Valley Province in Central Kenya, one finds Lake Nakuru, famous for its pink flamingos. An estimated one million-plus flamingos literally turn the shores pink. This is pure joy for ornithologists, scientists, and wildlife filmmakers. Located at a distance of 157 km from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru and the national park that surrounds it can be leisurely visited in a day. Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Kenya Continued from page 19
Cattle play a central role in the life of the Maasai. The more cattle a Maasai has, the richer he is and therefore the more power and influence he will have within his tribe. The Masai tend to live in kraals, small clusters of cow-dung huts constructed by the women. Traditionally the Maasai have always been a proud and independent tribe. In the evening, don't miss seeing the Masai dance. It may seem that they are cracking their bones, but they say its natural! The beauty of the Masai is self-made. The ladies with attractive beads around their necks have no need for expensive jewellery. To them, cosmetics are the red clay they paint on their faces that looks so beautiful on their skin.
Swahili Fusion Cuisine Swahili cuisine at the coast shows influences from both Arabia and India, with a particular African twist. Some typical dishes, as well as a few vegetarian recipes, are actually Hindu specialties adapted to the local ingredients. There is no doubt that the most popular Swahili dish in Mombasa is Wail wa Nazi (wali, cooked rice; nazi, coconut). Wali wa nazi is a creamy, rich accompaniment to any meat, chicken, fish or curry dish.
Myriad of Languages It is estimated that 62 languages are spoken in Kenya. Although Kenya is a multilingual country its official languages are Swahili and English, the latter being the language of big business, higher education and government. However, Swahili is widely used in smallscale trade, the media and teaching in primary schools. Although Swahili is widely spoken in towns, most Kenyans have their own tribal language and view Swahili as a foreign language.
found across the country. Each historic site tells its own story. The Gedi Ruins consists of remains of the palaces, houses and mosques of a fifteenth century Arab-African town. Olorgesaille, a pre-historic site of the Middle Pleistocene Age, first discovered in 1942 by Mary Leakey, exhibits stone-age tools and fossils of extinct mammals dating from 1.2 million years ago. Just north of Mombassa you can explore the 13th Century Swahili settlement Jumba la Mtwana, which means "the mansion of the slave" in Swahili. The Kariandusi Pre-Historic Site, discovered in the late 1920s by Louis Leakey on one of his first visits to the central Rift Valley, has been a rich source of prehistoric obsidian tools, made by early humans between 1.4 million and 200,000 years ago. Koobi Fora, located on the east side of Lake Turkana, is a site of human evolution made famous by the discovery of a skull of Homo habilis, the first human species. Finally, there is Thimlich Ohinga, which is the site of six stone structures constructed without the use of mortar. Archaeological records of materials found within the site go back to more than 500 years ago.
Beauty and Magic of Kenya Whether you want to go on the safari of your dreams, meet some of the most charming people in the world or do some time travelling back to the early beginnings of man, you will find it all in beautiful, magical Kenya!
For More Info: Website:
A Long, Rich History www.magicalkenya.com Kenya's colonial and distant pasts are reflected in the national historic sites
India My Favourite Goa Beaches by Priya Shah
The beaches of Goa are like the curves of a woman's body sensuous, warm, inviting.
See India on page 22
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
are few buses that stop right at the beach's edge, but none after dark. It's a long walk to the Calangute taxi stand from the beach, so if you plan to stay after sundown, make sure you have your own transport.
Calangute beach actually has Baga as its kid sibling nearby. But unlike Calangute, which is crowded, steep and marred by dangerous undercurrents, the beach at Baga is flat, safe for swimming, and has clean, white sand. A little creek joins the sea between the beach sands and a hill that is home to the Retreat House.
Speckled with quaint beach shacks that serve ice cold beer and spicy cuisine, Goan beaches offer relaxation and a laid-back atmosphere. It is easy to find affordable and cozy accommodation in a beach resort or hotel very close to the scenic shoreline in Goa as well.
Travellers can rent a beach umbrella, sample the tasty food available at the beach shacks that dot the beach, and sun in solitude. This Goa beach is popular with package tourists, but is still not too crowded.
Each beach offers its own personality and style, with different crowd of people, attractions, culinary delights and even natural wonders. Avoid the busiest choices and instead visit those more off the beaten path for a unique and wonderful experience.
Sinquerim beach has clean, white sand, and is close to the historic Fort Aguada. As an early 17th century fort that was built by the Portuguese, it controlled the entry into River Mandovi and protected old Goa from enemy attack.
Candolim Beach Candolim is the birth place of Abbe Faria, a Goan Freedom Fighter and the Father of Hypnotism. When staying in Candolim, feel free to reserve one of the rent-back apartments a stone's throw away from the beach.
Baga is very popular with sunbathers sans swimsuits, which sometimes can raise a few eyebrows among the locals. Travellers can catch some action of a different kind if into water sports and fishing. After dark, night owls frequent Tito's - one of the more lively watering holes of Goa's pulsing after dark scene. Baga has a Saturday night flea market and you can shop for colourful Kashmiri handlooms and other artifacts all along the road leading to the beach.
Sinquerim Beach Bambolim Beach
You can take a long walk from Sinquerim beach all the way to Candolim beach, which continues north to Baga.
Baga Beach Baga is a small fishing area with a grove of shady palms close to the water's edge. There
Bambolim beach is a small, clean, largely undiscovered beach, in a shaded spot before the mouth of the river Zuari. The entrance to the beach is easily missed and lies along the hill between Goa Medical College and the Goa University. The road reaches the Bambolim beach resort. From there, travel down to the shore easily. The beach is carpeted with broken mother-of-pearl and other shells, which makes it a haven for shell-collectors. Thick coconut groves line the beach and provide shade and privacy. It's a beautiful beach for a quiet, cozy picnic. Enjoy lunch at the Bambolim Beach Resort restaurant, serenaded by one of the local singers or bands. When heading back home, take the road that goes to the beautiful Goa University to Dona Paula. A little off the road before Dona Paula, just before the National Institute of Oceanography, is a restaurant called White House. It serves excellent seafood and has a wonderful view of the bay. It's also one of the few pet-friendly restaurants in Goa, so if travellers have a wellbehaved pooch along, they won't have to tie it outside while you finish your dinner.
Arambol Beach Arambol Beach is near the traditional fishing village of Arambol and is an isolated stretch Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
known for its rocky and sandy terrain. Until recently, Arambol was a favorite Goa beach for hippies and its claim to fame was the wild parties it hosted.
The main beach is relatively good for swimming. To the north are quiet bays where you can take long walks with starfish underfoot. There's a hot spring near the main beach that runs into a freshwater lake. Sporty types can enjoy activities like dolphin watching boat trips and paragliding.
Vagator Beach Vagator is one of the more beautiful white sand Goa beaches. There is a cliff to traverse down to reach the beach. The sea, though, is not safe for swimming. But during the tourist season, it has an active nightlife. The south beach is fairly spread out and more secluded. A little further south of the main beach you'll find the quieter Little Vagator or Ozran beach with a fresh water pool. You can also visit the nearby Chapora Fort. Accommodation is not always easy to find because there are few hotels here.
Benaulim Beach Benaulim beach is more peaceful and serene than Colva and still rather undiscovered by domestic tourists. According to Hindu mythology, this is the place where the arrow of Lord Parsurama landed when he created the state of Goa. Known in Sanskrit as Banali, it was changed to Benaulim by the Portuguese. The main attractions on this beach are the dolphin cruises. The church of St. John the Baptist on the hill is a wonderful example of Goan Christian architecture. With the first drops of the Indian monsoon, the village breaks into a celebration of thanksgiving for the Feast of São João.
Agonda Beach Agonda is a virgin stretch of beach twelve kilometres from Palolem, and is undiscovered by tourists. It is sometimes frequented by day picnickers. The waters are crystal clear and it's easy to see the bottom of the shore while swimming. Watch out for the sharp barnacles if you decide to climb any of the rocks there. Until recently, there was just a solitary shack on the beach. Accommodation would be hard to find here. You could pitch a tent and stay for the night, but a better option is to stay at Palolem, and drive down to Agonda for the day. The more adventurous can rent a bicycle in the village and cycle cross country to the beach.
Mobor and Cavelossim Beaches Cavelossim Beach is a small stretch of beach eleven kilometres south of Colva Beach. South of Cavelossim Beach is the Mobor beach that currently boast of five star resorts like the Leela Beach Resort. Both beaches are relatively isolated and there are few beach shacks here. Mobor has a fishing village with a small lagoon near the mouth of a river, and its fun to watch the seagulls that come to feast on the fish drying on the sand. Goa might be only a small part of India, but that does not mean there isn’t a wide range of diversity when It comes to people and nature. Spend a little time exploring the more hidden Goan beaches and be rewarded with seclusion, beauty and peace.
Palolem Beach Palolem beach, situated in the Canacona District, is also known as "Paradise Beach". Until a few years back, it was among the virgin beaches of Goa. It is a beach popular for its dolphin cruises and fishing trips. At the northern end of the beach is a tiny island in the middle of a fresh water stream that can be reached by swimming across at low tide. The Gaitonde's tent resort is one of the more popular places to stay, but be sure to book well in advance. Relax in a hammock and sip beer while enjoying the delicious fresh catch brought in by the fishermen. Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
5 Things You Might Not Know About
New Zeal by Ruth Atherley
You probably know New Zealand for its adventure, adrenalin, and the great outdoors, but there are also a lot of interesting things that most people might not realize. Here are five fun, funky, and unforgettable things about the land of the long white cloud. The South Island city of Dunedin celebrates chocolate for a whole week during the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival. One of the highlights has organizers letting two sets of 25,000 Jaffas loose. As
the chocolate candies roll down Baldwin Street – the steepest street in the world – thousands of spectators eagerly await their arrival. (Just for the record, Dunedin is known as the “quirky capital of New Zealand” and this small city also boasts the country’s only annual naked rugby game.) North Island’s Napier is known as the “Art Deco City” and maintains that title because of the local Art Deco Trust. The buildings in Napier underwent massive
reconstruction after an earthquake in 1931, which almost leveled the city. Art Deco was in fashion at the time and it greatly influenced the rebuilding. Now Napier and South Beach in Miami, Florida are considered the two best preserved Art Deco towns in the world. New Zealand is well-known for wine tours and tastings, but for those who like their drink with a little hop, there are also a wide range of microbreweries and brewery tours. For beer aficionados, there are
and many different types to choose from including North Island’s Galbraith’s Alehouse in Auckland, Waiheke Island Brewery on Waiheke Island, and Sunshine Brewery in Gisborne. The South Island brew opportunities include The Twisted Hop in Christchurch, Moa Brewery in Blenheim, and Bays Brewery in Nelson. Asking what local microbrew to try in any local bar or pub is sure to make you new friends. New Zealand is predator-free, which
means no cougars, bears, wolves or snakes. A walk in the forest is much less worrisome than a stroll in the woods in North America. There’s nothing waiting up around that bend except more flora and fauna, and perhaps a waterfall.
something, they do it right!) Even in little out of the way coffee shops, you can get an exceptional Americano, latte, cappuccino or flat white (similar to a “wet” cappuccino). The best of the best are honoured at the annual New Zealand Coffee Awards.
And last, but certainly not least, New Zealand makes exceptional espressobased coffee drinks. According to locals, it has only been over the past seven years or so that the country has embraced great coffee. (But when Kiwis decide to do
Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com.
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Florida With an Appetite by Michael Morcos
F o r t L a u d e r d a l e + Pa l m B e a c h
5 29 The South Florida Foodie Scene Tropical breezes and endless miles of sandy shores make for the ideal environment to enjoy delectable cuisine. South Florida’s acclaimed culinary atmosphere is alive, thriving and drawing in some internationally talented chefs to show off their skills. Incorporating farmed fresh ingredients and plenty of seafood delights, the food there is diverse and innovative, from the informal beach shacks to the elegant affairs in new high-end urban restaurants. Indulge in the sun and stay for the delicious dishes to be explored throughout South Florida.
Coconuts cannot be missed Immerse right into the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s food scene with dinner at Coconuts. Its laid back ambiance and beachy charm is only part of what makes it most popular. Have a juicy lobster roll or coconut shrimp platter, pull up a chair outside and revel in the magnificent sunsets.
Support relaxation and pampering Almost every traveler who frequents Florida goes there for one reason – to have a rejuvenating time. Sampling incredible food goes hand in hand with spa and massage treatment, especially when it all can be enjoyed with incredible surrounding views. At the Atlantic Hotel and Spa, one of the city’s best and most luxurious hotspots, choose from a series of services including an Orange Blossom or vanilla ginger facial, to stay with the food theme.
Back for a memorable dinner The Atlantic Hotel and Spa hosts a fantastic place to wine and dine by the water. Specializing in home grown ingredients and wonderful fresh surprises, the East End Brasserie pairs perfectly prepared dished of filet and seared scallops with tasty wines. Finish with homemade dessert, such as the vanilla ice cream with white chocolate shaving, for the perfect finish.
Floridian art and culture Like many other major cities in the U.S, south Florida has some incredible artwork to observe and appreciate. Although some exhibits rotate, most visitors will find ancient Roan relics, black and white photography and much more. Take the afternoon to peruse the wide selection can choose your favorites. Before heading back to the beach.
Locally sourced Temperate weather makes for ideal farming weather for many different types of produce, dairy and livestock. It’s worth leaving busy downtown areas to take a trip to Marando Farms for some homegrown fun. Take a tour to learn more about bee colonies, irrigation
Beaches galore South Florida boasts some incredibly sandy and serene shorelines. For instance, the famous Delray Beach bring in a million visitors a year for its natural beauty and ample activities, from sandcastle building to body boarding. It is two miles of great surf line with restaurants, shops and even spas.
See Florida on page 30
+ Delray Beach Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
and other farming techniques great for all ages. Stop by the colorful farmer’s market to check out what’s growing seasonal and on sale. On the way back, have a egg any style paired with smoked sausage at the popular, locally sourced food truck Eggtastic.
Learning from the best With all these wonderful meals, it can be a thrill to get a little behind the scenes and see how they are created. Make some time to experience the Chef Jean Pierre Gourmet Emporium and Cooking School for a lesson and foodie shopping. Observe or take a class in many different concentrations and perhaps meet the animated Chef Jean Pierre himself. Before leaving, take a peek in the gourmet shop fill of kitchen wares and imported treats.
A waterway tour If not in the mood for swimming, hop aboard a water taxi instead in the Intracoastal waterways near Fort Lauderdale. These nautical modes of transportation offer the opportunity to take a closer look at the harbor yachts and gorgeous mansions that lines the shore. The area has become a magnet for many top stars, chefs and business owners to take root and indulge in all the fanciful, sophisticated aspects of South Florida.
A Tuscan flair Cuisine of every flavor can be found along the southern coast – Italian is no exception. For a really hearty dining time, enter the homey Casa D’Angelo. Run by Angleo Elia, backed by his mother’s home cooked recipes, smells wafting from the kitchen
include fresh sautéed seafood and Mediterranean vegetables. The collection of more than 20,000 wines is icing on the cake for a complete experience.
Following the trend Have a few classy dinners out in Fort Lauderdale, but also leave a bunch of room for fun. Make a beeline for the new restaurant YOLO in Fort Lauderdale. Named after the catchphrase “You Only Live Once”, it can be a super place to mingle with locals and travelers alike over satisfying food, great drinks and a lively atmosphere. There’s even an area just for the adults to nosh on some eclectic and sassy choices, such as chorizo with cheese or a spicy calamari. Nearby there’s plenty of places to shop and work off those extra calories, as Las Olas Boulevard teeming with boutiques and galleries.
Pa l m
Switching gears on the shore Florida is a large state, but it is worth heading from Fort Lauderdale over to check out the Palm Beach area. Also in the south and just as sunny, it has its own charms and wonderfully modern facets for a sleek and memorable trip. The Breakers, found in Palm Beach, can create the ultimate ambiance for the excursions, complete with private beach and wonderful culinary opportunities. Laid out along the shoreline, guests can pick from luxe suites or guest rooms, all which have beautiful vistas of ocean and the pretty resort itself. The possibilities are endless outside the plush rooms, as guests may try beach yoga classes, bicycle tours, spa treatments and golfing, to name only a few of the relaxing and invigorating
activities. The Beach Club on site has access to the massive pool and bungalows for a lazy and scenic afternoon. For cocktails and dinner, HMF is the place to see and be seen. Curl up around some unique and perfectly seasoned appetizers, paired with a classic libation can nods to the finer, simpler things in life. Many items respect the seasonal crop and use delicious ingredients from Florida, so patrons know they are getting a true taste of the real destination. In comparison, have a light and visually pleasing breakfast also inside the resort at The Circle Room, which has some of the best views through arched ceilings on the property.
Fresh and fun Throughout Palm Beach there are more incredible foodie choices around every cor-
ner. 50 Ocean welcomes the casually elegant crowd to have a great seafood platters and sweet desserts made in house. Maxâ€™s Harvest in nearby Delray Beach has delighted those into socially and ethically conscious food sourcing, which supports perfectly prepared dishes as well. Unwind in a classic way as well with some tea time at DU20, all located in a great area full of countless shops and fun things to do. Every corner of South Florida, whether on the east or west coast, is well worth exploring. Exploding savory and sweet inventions or flavor dance on the palate and are cultivated by some of the best chefs in the nation. This reason alone is why millions flock to this part of the state annually, only enhanced by the amazing beaches, shopping districts and entertainment that makes Florida special.
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
The Middle of by Steven Sanders
Nowhere Riding a scooter through the countryside, the overpoweringly deep and unique smell brings a smile to my face. ‘How I’ll miss that smell’ I muttered. The sky is as blue as it can be, the landscape is dreamy, and it’s the final day of my trip to the world’s most isolated inhabited island. Easter Island had spent far too long loitering in my list of ‘top 5 places to see’. I eventually purchased a round trip ticket to this tiny speck of land in the south
Pacific from Santiago, Chile, one of only two routes that serve the island along with Tahiti. The island has been Chilean territory since 1888, however along with the natural beauty it’s the intriguing and sometimes mystifying history of yesteryear – which you can literally look straight in the eyes – that attracts the visitors of today. Known as Rapa Nui to the natives or Isla de Pascua to Chileans, the island conjures up images of the famous Moai stat-
ues which are dotted mainly around the island’s coast. And while there is so much more to see and do on the island, the ever-watching Moai will probably have a large say in how you plan your itinerary here. Built between 1100 and 1680, the reason for the immense dedication to the carving of these structures is relatively See Easter Island on page 34
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
unproven. Some American sensationalist writers have thrown in the ‘alien’ possibility, but one thing is certain; these stone figures weighing an average of 14 tonnes were carved by man and ‘walked’ to their platform – or Ana in Rapa Nui – using ropes and teams of men to rock it into place. It is said they were probably built to represent important figures on the island such as generals, tribe leaders and doctors. The difference between some of them is huge, depending on the era they were built. Some are expertly carved right down to the fingernails, while others are reversing the carving process by returning back to a faceless stone slab due to the elements. Whether it’s history or adventure; beach or hiking, it’s impossible to avoid these eerie figures that dominate all corners of this tiny island. After a relaxing first day wandering the small harbour capital of Hanga Roa, where seemingly everyone on the island lives, I kept my plans slow and laid back – in-tune with the Rapa Nui way of life – by keeping my first day of sightseeing close to home. The sector of Tahai is where the first settlers on the island lived, and is today home to the island’s museum, numerous festivals and shows throughout the year, and of course several Moai statues. Tahai is the best place on the island to catch the sunset, where one can photograph the dipping sun behind the five restored statues that line up along the coast. Just a five minute walk led me to what I eventually came to summarize as the islands best restaurant – not bad for a day’s work. Te Moana offered some of the finest ceviche I have
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
ever tasted, and while the service leaves a lot to be desired, the chef is on another level. The latter – combined with the seafront location – was my reason for returning not once, but twice. The restaurant is less than a 10 minute walk from where most of the hotels are located. After two relaxing days of doing things on ‘island time’, it was time to rev things up a little. Renting a scooter for the remainder of the trip was the best decision I made on the island, which just became a whole lot more accessible and affordable. I filled up for $3 at the islands only gas station next door to the airport, and zoomed off to the stone village of Orongo on the southwestern tip of the island. It is here where you can learn a lot about Easter Island’s history and read about the famous ‘birdman cult’, which was an annual race down the jagged cliffs and to the nearby uninhabited islet of Motu Nui to retrieve and bring back a recently laid manutara egg. The first man to bring back the egg unbroken was given special privileges and leadership for one year. Orongo offers a spectacular view out into the ocean, 52 ancient stone houses and the stunning crater of Rano Kau which helps shape this corner of the island. The best place on the island to view the Moai at all levels of construction is at the volcanic crater of Rano Raraku, located towards the south east of the island. It was here where the Moai were chiselled out of the quarry’s rock, some are still embedded in the walls, incomplete, while many are scattered around the hills. Rano Raraku makes for a fantastic halfday trip and is close to Ahu Tongariki, a
huge coastal platform of 15 Moai, all individual in shape and size, and one of the main photo attractions of the island. Whilst the weather on the island doesn’t get too hot, I did notice things heating up after a cloudy introduction which meant one thing: Beach time. The island only really has two accessible beaches – one of which barely fits the accessible tag. After clambering down a few rocks I stopped off at Ovahe Beach – which was completely empty. Ovahe is the perfect idea of a secluded beach, and the sand seems completely untouched, perfect for a romantic picnic. It appears tourists and locals opt for the much bigger and more easily accessible Anakena Beach instead, which is a short scooter ride away, and is a beach like no other. Anakena has everything from history to spectacular views. It is said to be the first landing place of the Polynesian settlers and is home to seven mightily impressive Moai – called Ahu Akivi - that line up near the beach and remain in pristine condition. An eighth statue – built separately – looms behind. After marvelling at the statues, Anakena’s powdery white sand is all too inviting and makes for the perfect afternoon. For those early birds, the sun rises on this side of the island and is a joy to witness the long shadows formed by the islands most preserved and impressive statues. There are many more Moai statues to find – some standing, others still face down and defeated from when a new tribe took power of the island. North east of Hanga Roa, seven Moai stand side by side close to the island’s highest peak, Mount Terevaka. The ascent is a pleasant
walk, and although the winds are strong year round, the views are definitely worth it. If time permits, give yourself 30 minutes to stop off at the nearby quarry of Puna Pau, where the red topknots – the hats of the statues - where made before being transferred across the island to be put on top of the Moai.
After scootering around this mysterious and captivating island, I rounded things off by seeing if the island’s waters really are amongst the clearest for scuba divers. I found a great deal at Orca Diving Centre. The centre’s French owner Michel Garcia offered great conversation and the Chilean girls who took us through the waters also became personal underwater photographers at no extra cost, providing the camera and a copy of the photos. The corals are aplenty along with an abundance of small fish unique to the island, and visibility can be up to 60 meters. After an hour of underwater fun, I felt a final stop at nearby Te Moana for their superb ceviche would make for a perfect ending, before catching a traditional Rapa Nui show over the road at Te Ra’ai restaurant and bar. What to know Spanish is the main language spoken on the island, while local Rapa Nui people speak both Spanish and their own Eastern Polynesian dialect. English and occasionally French can be found in the tourist offices. Night time can be quite chilly on the island year round, so bring some layers along with plenty of sunblock for each day. Prices on the island are higher due to the cost of importing, however gas is cheap.
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
P a r Is Always on
Je ne regrette rien. by Anne-Marie Macloughlin Everyone thinks of seeing Paris in the springtime, but, like a lot of major cities in Europe, it has a year-round appeal, and, as I was to find out, some very temperate weather in the late fall
See Paris on page 38
i s My Mind Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Travel and Tourism
Continued from page 45
Orly and Charles de Gaulle-Roissy are the two main airports serving Paris. As my flight arrived at CGD, I’d planned to get Le Metro into town (€9.50), a cheaper option to Le Taxi (approximately €40-60). The RER (regional) trains connect with the metro, the journey to the Gare du Nord taking around 35 minutes. The metro network is as advanced as one would expect from a world class city. Clean and easy to navigate, I felt as confident as a local within a day or two. By far the best way to see Paris, though, is with The Paris Pass (parispass.com). Purchased online or from the main outlet in the city (randomly, a small confectionary store) close to Bonne Nouvelle metro, the Paris Pass lives up to its online hype. Savings galore come with the package, which vary according to length of visit (I bought a 3 day pass for €109). Entry to many museums and the main attractions are included. For getting about, the pass includes RER, metro, buses, Le Car Rouge double-decker tour bus, and a cruise along the Seine. For the easy way to see this magnificent city, I would absolutely recommend it. Attractions are not far from each other, connections straightforward, and the French very willing to assist. Divided into twenty arrondissements, or municipalities, each with it’s own character, one soon gets a feel for the city.
Culinary Delights Ah, the smell of fresh-baked baguettes, the salty tang of moules marinieres, and of course, the seductive aroma of a café allongee. Paris is a gastronome’s pleasure dome. I had booked an apartment hotel, The Citadines de Montmartre (citadines.com for information), which meant self-catering in a country known for it’s superior cuisine. The Monoprix department store, has a
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
grocery store on site, where you may also purchase alcohol. Used to Toronto prices, I found Paris pretty reasonable, especially as the majority of produce was organic, free range and otherwise ethical, and catering to all palates. For late-night shopping, the local convenience store, Franprix, came up trumps the night I arrived, with fresh fruit and veg, eggs, cheese, and a decent liquor section, Finding somewhere to enjoy a meal out in Paris is a no-brainer. Cheap and cheerful prix fixe restaurants vie for space with the more exclusive eateries. For breakfast, however, do NOT pass up the opportunity for a pain au chocolat – translation, chocolate bread. I was sucked in by the aroma the first day I passed a bakery. When in France, leave the diet at home :)
Les Beaux-Arts Paris = culture. Home to the world’s most visited museum , the Louvre, which houses 35,000 pieces of artwork in its eight departments, and of course, La Joconde – more commonly referred to as The Mona Lisa. Make sure you schedule at least 3 hours for a visit, and wear comfortable shoes. The Musee d’Orsay on the left bank can be overlooked by visitors to the city in favour of its famous rival, but it houses some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful masterpieces in art history. My favourites, ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’/ La Nuit Etoilee (Vincent Van Gogh), inspiration for Cat Steven’s haunting ballad, and Monet’s ‘Blue Water Lilies’. Another must-see, is the Musee Rodin. Housed in a gorgeous mansion set in neatly manicured grounds, this collection from the master sculptor includes his most famous pieces, ‘Le Penseur’ (The Thinker) and ‘Le Baiser’ (The Kiss) . The former poses thoughtfully on a column outside the museum, the gilded dome of Les Invalides in the distance. Stunning in its realism, The Thinker is a stark reminder that, initially, Rodin’s style was derided by his contemporaries and critics.
Failing the entrance exam for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts three times, his reputation as a sculptor was finally established at the age of 40, with The Age of Bronze, his first original work. Good to know even geniuses get rejected sometimes :)
Medieval Monsters and Monuments Hopping on the metro, I headed to (in my humble opinion) the globe’s most iconic structure – The Eiffel Tower. Finished in 1889, it was the tallest monument in the world until the Chrysler Building in New York was erected in 1930. Dazzling enough during the day, the Tower after dark must be viewed for the magnificent light show provided by 20,000 light bulbs, which sparkle for five minutes every hour on the hour, until 1am. Across the street, lies another glittering landmark – The Seine. For a different view of the city, many mini-cruises are offered. Open-air in summer, the winter cruisers are glass-topped and warmly heated. Recorded commentary is available in several languages; if you’re lucky, you’ll get the guide we had, who spoke at least six! Disembarking at the foot of the tower, the Car Rouge was waiting. An open-topped double decker bus, it is the ultimate hopon, hop-off experience. As the route includes all the major attractions, I decided to visit the gargoyles of Notre Dame. The first stone of this medieval marvel was laid in 1163, and took almost 200 years to complete. The word Gargoyle is from the French word gargouille, meaning gullet, and the verb gargariser, meaning ‘to gargle’, which makes perfect sense, given that these fearsome creatures are in fact, drainpipes. Huddled together on the narrow walkways, tourists can experience these incredible creatures up close, as well as a breathtaking view of the city.
Varied and Vintage Located in the 4th arrondissement, Notre Dame is not far from Le Marais, known
for its many thrift and vintage stores. One of the most famous of these, Free’p’star, has three stores within 5 minute’s walk of each other. On the lookout for a winter coat, I was directed to the branch at 8 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie. With the fur trade widely considered by many Europeans as a cruel, unnecessary and outdated practice, many vintage stores are teeming with all manner of donated pelts, which was what greeted me in the cramped Free’p’star basement. Not a fan of fur either, I was relieved to see many faux options mixed in with the exotics, along with some very retro leather and sheepskin. Finally settling on a long snuggly mouton (a type of sheepskin), I was speechless when I saw the price tag - €10 (around $15). On returning to the hotel, I realised I’d left behind the 3 white tuxedo shirts I’d put aside at €3 each, still in shock from scoring such a bargain!
For my last night, a pilgrimage to the basilica of Sacre-Coeur proved to be the ultimate stairmaster, Perched above the city on the Butte de Montmartre, a steep 130 metres high, with an easy way up in the form of the funiculaire from Anvers Metro to the foot of the church steps. Gazing at Paris by Night, it was easy to visualise the artists of Montmartre (amongst them, Dali and Picasso) gaining inspiration from this, The City of Light.
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Vancouver Island Spring Spawn Spectacle by Ryan Bowman
ith their endless sand beaches and warm Pacific waters, the popular coastal communities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach have long been a summertime hotspot for locals and tourists alike. But thanks to an annual wildlife spectacle, the area's shores will be blooming with a different kind of visitor this March. Every spring, between mid-March and early April, the coastline comes to life and plays host to the country's largest Pacific Herring spawn. In addition to tinting the area's waters a dazzling aquamarine blue – a result of the herring milt mingling with the tepid salt water – the spawn attracts an endless menagerie of marine life, from Brant Geese and surf scoters to seals and sea lions. “We have tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl that basically follow this pulse of productivity that starts down in California and moves northward as the water warms,” says Brian Kingzett, Deep Bay Marine Field Station Manager. “I sort of liken it to the marine equivalent of the
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, where every spring the bloom moves from southern Japan to northern Japan.” While its shallow waters, sheltered coves and abundance of eelgrass has long made the Parksville Qualicum Beach area a favoured breeding spot for the small silver fish on their annual migration north, there was a period from the 70s to the 90s when the stocks fell to critically low levels. But thanks to stricter fishing regulations and better environmental practices, Kingzett says herring numbers are on the rebound. And while the size of the stock can vary from year to year – depending on factors including water temperature and survival rates from the previous year – he hopes this year's numbers to exceed 2013's total of 93,000 tonnes. “That's small compared to some of the historic runs,” he says. “We're talking millions of fish coming in to spawn.” In addition to providing a rare and
authentic experience for locals and visitors alike, Kingzett says a healthy herring spawn is important to the ecosystem as a whole, as the eggs provide an important source of protein for salmon, birds, and other marine mammals. “Herring are very important because they're what we call a feed fish,” he says. “The health of the herring is really tied to the health of the entire food chain.” Known for its favourable climate and abundance of authentic outdoor activities, Vancouver Island is certainly used to its share of tourism – and the spawning season is no different. Over the years, the herring spawn has become a major component of the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, which celebrates the recent resurgence of the Brant geese population and draws nature enthusiasts from around the world. After getting involved with the festival in 2013, Kingzett says the Deep Bay Marine Field Station will play a bigger role this year, providing the public with lectures as
The Humble Herring
by Vanessa Gotthainer
Feeder fish no longer just a pickled side dish
well as boat tours. “On a regional level, what we're trying to do here is illustrate these really large biological events that are happening in our waters,” he says. “It's also a great opportunity to talk about conservation and the need to continue to promote the health of the marine environment here.” Kingzett, who looks forward to the spawning spectacle every spring – more as a nature lover than as a researcher – recommends anyone with an interest in nature visit Parksville Qualicum Beach in the coming weeks. “For years, I've gone out to watch it from the shore, but last year was the first time I actually experienced it out in a boat,” he says. “Either way, I think seeing something like this firsthand is definitely a privilege. It's a rare and impressive sight.” If You Go:· www.visitparksvillequalicumbeach.com · www.viu.ca/deepbay http://brantfestival.bc.ca/
A natural phenomenon is about to happen along Parksville Qualicum Beach’s 19 kilometre sandy shoreline – the annual Pacific Herring spawn from mid-March through mid-April. It is a true west coast spectacle and the signature event of the Brant Wildlife Festival (March 1 – April 21, 2014). As Canada’s largest herring spawn, millions of silvery fish arrive at Parkville’s shores, so rich and intense in numbers that the waters turn a glowing aquamarine blue. It’s a rare event to see the concentration and abundance of marine life at Parksville Qualicum Beach during the spawn. Sightings of California Sea Lions (Zalophus Californianus) and Stellar Sea Lions (Eumetopias Jubatu), Harbor Seals (Phoca Vitulina Richardsi), and Brant Geese (Branta Bernicla) are common, all feasting on the herring menagerie. But the silvery fish is gaining attention from another species – humans. Historically, the First Nations feasted on the delicious fish, but herring as a delicacy is fairly new in the 21st Century. They were popular during the Gold Rush, and consumption peaked during World War I when they were canned. New immigrants fished them for subsistence until the 1950s, but after that the fish went largely ignored. Today, herring is not just fish food nor another pickled side dish, it offers juicy filets, is easy to prepare and loaded with Omega-3. The unassuming herring is a great delicacy with all the gutsy flavours of fresh sardines that appeals to a discerning palate. The steaks work well with many fresh herbs, particularly basil. Herring can grow up to 40 cm (16in) in length, providing a substantial amount of flesh. It can be poached, fried or grilled, or pickled,
soused, marinated, salted or smoked. Herring have a mild salty fish flavour and are oily in texture. “Fresh herring tastes a bit like an anchovy or smelt, or trout with more texture,” says Chef Debbie Shore of Vancouver Island University. “Fry them up in butter. Eat one half off the top then pull out the spine and other bones. Then eat up.” Pacific Herring are a type of forage fish, small schooling fish are really important components of the marine food chain feeding many other larger fish and marine mammals. “Many believe that we should be eating forage fish directly rather than converting them into other forms of animal protein,” says Brian Kingzett, Manager Deep Bay Field Station, Vancouver Island University. “Rich in fatty acids these fish are highly nutritious and good for health and admired by many for their texture and taste.” “Globally, overfishing of forage fish can have devastating effects on marine food webs when not well regulated. In British Columbia, very conservative harvest levels for Pacific Herring are allowing this species to make a comeback after years of overfishing and stock collapse.” The humble herring - environmentally friendly, rich in Omega-3, inexpensive, delicious. Maybe worth consideration on your next seafood menu.
Riviera Nayarit is heating
oted as one of Frommer’s “Top Destinations for 2014” as well as one of “The 5 Coolest Places to Go in 2014” by Oyster, Riviera Nayarit is having its rightful moment in the spotlight. This comes as no surprise to us – Riviera Nayarit offers 192 miles of golden beaches, luxury resorts and charming boutique hotels, history dating back to the Aztec civilization and a collection of authentic Mexican towns along the coast. Below, we’ve outlined a few reasons why Riviera Nayarit is indeed the coolest place to travel this year:
1. Marietas Islands Situated in Banderas Bay near Punta Mita, the Marieta Islands are a wildlife sanctuary, home to many endangered bird species as well as rare coral reefs. Over 80 species of birds nest here including several endangered species such as the very rare Blue Footed Booby which can only be found here, on the Sea of Cortez and the Galapagos Islands. The Marietas Islands are a chain of three volcanic islands near the mainland at the north end of the bay. One of the most visited island locations is the place the locals call "La Playa de Amor" or Lover's Beach. There is an opening through an arch which was carved in the rock by the pounding of the waves over the centuries. Boat tours from Nuevo Vallarta and Punta Mita are available to enjoy snorkeling, diving, swimming and birdwatching.
g up this year! See Mexico on page 46
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
5. Haramara Retreat
Continued from page 53
A small island of floating mangroves, canals and lowlands that is reputed to be the legendary Aztlan, birthplace of the Aztec civilization. Aerial views of Mexcaltitan show an oval-shaped village on a man-made island surrounded by mangroves teeming with exotic birds, the occasional alligator, turtles, fish, shrimp, lobster, oysters and mussels. From a central plaza that contains a picturesque church and a very small museum, the streets of the village radiate outward like spokes of a wheel. Visitors can enjoy exploring the Museo del Origen, dining in outdoor restaurants, beaches, birdwatching, swimming and relaxation.
Haramara is arguably one of the most special hotels in Mexico. It is a luxurious yoga retreat located on 12 seaside acres of wild vegetation just outside Sayulita. The structures have been built using traditional construction techniques to minimize the environmental impact, and there is no electricity anywhere besides the restaurant and the yoga studio — not even in the rooms. Each room is housed in a private standalone thatched hut with no window panes or screens separating it from the jungle, and only gauze curtains and mosquito nets to avoid bugs and critters. It is geared towards those in need of some detoxification and relaxation, with yoga and meditation classes, an open-air spa, a vegetarian and seafood restaurant, unpaved trails, and limited cell phone service.
3. La Tovara National Park According to the World Wildlife Fund, the La Tovara National Park and mangrove eco-region in San Blas is “one of the most important winter habitats for birds in the Pacific, home to 80% of the Pacific migratory shore bird populations.” A paradise for bird enthusiasts, this eco region has the highest concentration of migratory birds and features over 500 species, including the black-bellied tree duck, great blue heron, roseate spoonbill, and endemic birds, like the bumblebee hummingbird and the Mexican woodnymph.
4. Tail of the Whale Among the distinctive features of the course is the signature island hole, 3B, the world's only natural island green situated 194 yards from the shore. Driving the ball across the Pacific Ocean is a unique experience, as is getting over to the green to putt. At low tide, there is a connecting pathway over shallow waters or as the tide moves in, a staff member shuttles golfers in an amphibious version of a golf cart. The hole is known as the "Tail of the Whale," because when seen from the air, it resembles the shape of the tail of the Humpbacked whales that frequent the offshore waters of Punta Mita during winter months. When asked to name his "best" hole, Nicklaus responded, "3B at Punta Mita."
Canadian World Traveller Winter / Spring 2014
6. Huichol culture Little is known for certain about the origins of the Huichol culture in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Nayarit and other adjoining states in Mexico. What is without question is that today’s Huichol – or Wixarika, as they prefer to call themselves in their native language – prefer to olive their traditional lifestyle yet make a major contribution to Mexico’s indigenous art and folk traditions. This artistic legacy has been recognized by leading museums around the world for its unique, intricate and colorful perspective on human culture and its relationship to nature. Huichol art has been described as a “portal on nature.” Craft objects include embroidery, distinctive hats, beadwork and a variety of woven objects including bags, but it is Huichol yarn painting, and more recently beadwork, that draw the most interest from art collectors, museums and visitors to Riviera Nayarit. Interesting Fact: Because of how the Huichol artwork is created, you can slip on a pair of 3D glasses and watch the designs come to life. For more information, visit: www.rivieranayarit.com.