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lifestyles

with CHERYL MacKINNON

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Canadian Travel and Lifestyles The call to warmer lands is strong throughout Canada around this time of year. Yes, “The True North, strong and free” is in the midst of a cold snap in most parts, particularly here in British Columbia. A holiday to the sunny shores of Mexico would do wonders for the energy levels of many, so check out some of the great deals being offered right now. Whether you plan a few weeks out, or simply drop everything one afternoon and just go…the sun, sand and rolling waves are exactly what we need right now. Check out more at www.visitmexico.com. Tullum Beach

A SPECIAL REPORT PROVIDED BY GLOBAL TV'S CHERYL MACKINNON AND

TRAVEL

Unwind, Explore and Unwind Some More…

in Mexico!

Puerto Villarta Town

Puerto Vallarta There’s a great availability of hotels to consider in Puerto Vallarta, especially those listed in the popular sun brochures available through your trusted travel agency. A recent visit included a stay at the NH Krystal, located near the Marina. It is older (it was opened in the 60s), however, the true sense of Mexico is felt here in both the setting and décor. Fronting miles of beach, it is currently under a massive renovation. The staff are attentive, the rooms clean and comfortable, with oceanfront units affording absolutely gorgeous views. The location is only a 20 minute walk, or $5 cab fare to the main part of the city. Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya is approximately 25 minutes from downtown PV. An enchanting rainforest setting complements the well appointed rooms, all of which overlook the most gorgeous bay. This property is ideal for those seeking a peaceful holiday, where most of your time will be spent poolside, or catching rays on the beach. The dining is excellent on property, or you can head into town and experience Puerto Vallarta’s eclectic restaurants.

Travel & Lifestyles is a weekly information report from Cheryl MacKinnon, Founder of ‘kid friendly!’ family tourism and Tourism Industry of Canada 2006 Travel Media Award Finalist for outstanding tourism promotion of Canada. Watch Cheryl on Global TV Morning News every Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. in B.C. www.cherylmackinnon.com

Take The Kids?

A

Please contact me at

cherylmack@shaw.ca"

h, winter and her dreary west coast days are certainly getting to some of us. Months of gray dampness make us yearn for miles of sandy beaches warmed by sunshine kisses. And where can you easily find this? Try Cancun and the Mayan Riviera on the Caribbean side of Mexico. Or, visit the Pacific side where Puerto Vallarta lies below the majesty of the Sierra Madres mountain range. Your first thought is how surreal it all seems – spectacular water views peek through cozy seating areas and lush planters easily draws you in. Attentive staff – always with one representative fluent in English, help get you settled. Obviously meant to tease and tantalize – the desired effect is definitely achieved. Feasting on the incredibly blue ocean and waving palm trees, welcome drink in hand, definitely melts away any lingering Canadian winter blues. There is truly something here for everyone which helps explain why so many return to visit Mexico year after year. The weather is consistent – warm, not too humid, and sunny. The locals are extremely friendly, welcoming guests with authentic hospitality. Eco-adventure tours are readily available, with everything from hiking the rain forest, to exploring parts of the shore line accessible only by boat. Cultural enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either as the country is steeped in history. Mexico’s native heritage is vibrantly shared through artistic performances that will completely captivate you. In the cities, the architecture is a fetching blend of old and modern. History is depicted with unique art work and sculptures adorning street corners and beach promenades.

Room to Roam

When You Go For all you outdoor enthusiasts, exploring the jungles and rain forests of Mexico is relatively safe…except for the insects. Be sure to carry bug repellant and an antihistamine in case of bites. When in the Mayan Riviera, I highly recommend a trip to Tulum, located a half hour away from the Resort. This walled city, built on a precipice overlooking the sea, dates back to 900 AD. The stone structures offer an interesting look into the lifestyle of the Mayans – be sure to wear hats and sunscreen (especially seniors, young children and babies), and bring along bottled water. Then, if you’ve got a full day left to explore more, book a tour to Chichen Itza, with a stop at a Cenote. The kids will love sharing this excursion with the class back at home! For more information, please visit www.visitpuertovallarta.com.

In Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, the streets are well-lit and safe – particularly along the ‘Hotel Zones’ which front the beaches. And the restaurants and night life can be what you make them – casual and relaxed (no tummy troubles here), to refined and elegant, with après dining entertainment including open air lounges, to dancing the night away in fashionable night clubs.

Puerto Villarta Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya

Mayan Riviera

Winter-weary adults quickly recharge amidst the intimate surroundings of the beautiful Royal Porto Real, Playa del Carmen. A luxurious resort that will fulfill the most seasoned travelers’ list of requirements – oversized suites with soaker tubs, a variety of gourmet dining options including relaxing outdoor bars and lounges, two swimming pools and, the most gorgeous white sandy beach. It is here that couples will definitely want to indulge in Spazul’s very romantic, moonlit ocean side massage. The concierge here is one of the hotel’s greatest assets. Whether ‘guiding’ you to the lively street vendors and shops of 5th Avenue (a fabulous area of shopping, dining and exploring that is steps out the front door of Royal Porto Real), to arranging tours of Mayan ruins, a golf game or even helping send urgent documents to Canada, no request is too much trouble. Their gracious hospitality is felt the moment you arrive, right through to the day you regretfully depart. Another favourite is the all–inclusive Barceló Premium located about a half hour from Playa del Carmen. It’s a fabulous locale to come with the kids and enjoy the lazy day’s poolside. My favourite spot is a reclining lounge chair perfectly placed on the talcum-white sand beach, literally inches from the mesmerizing turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. This is what a sun break is about…doing nothing more than swimming over to the pool bar, taking in lunch at one of the casual beachside restaurants, then relaxing the rest of the day away. Early evening, linger over a fabulous dinner at one of six specialty restaurants, later taking in all or part of the first class nightly entertainment - complete with live orchestra, in one of two outdoor, entertainment theatres, finishing off with a twirl around the dance floor in the disco. Tough decisions to make – most nights a nightcap in one of the contemporary Mexican-styled lounges is all you need before heading off to bed for yet another restful sleep.

Spring Break or just a week or two away, Mexico offers a bounty of all-inclusive resorts tailor-made for family travel. Check with your travel agent who will confidently recommend a resort appropriate to your family’s needs. Talk to parents at your kids’ schools too – word of mouth recommendations really can be helpful. If you’ve got kids with serious allergies (food, dyes and perfumes), and health issues like type 1 diabetes, don’t be afraid to travel here. Doctors and supporting health care can be easily accessed in the major resorts, with dietary considerations taken care of with advance notice to the property management. I do recommend you follow up when you arrive at the property, especially if you have specific food allergies. Barceló Resorts in the Mayan Riviera have the greatest kids’ water park I’ve seen in some time. With slides that are comfortable enough for mom and dad to ride down while holding onto a toddler or even a baby, it’s a smooth landing into warm, shallow waters within the self-contained kids’ pool and play area. Adjacent to a well-laid out activity centre where supervised activities are available for kids from four to 12 years old, parents relax by the nearby pool for grown-ups, knowing the kids are safe and within easy access. This is a great place to bring your neighbourhood babysitter from home. Then the entire family can play, swim, relax and enjoy themselves in an environment perfectly suited to the needs of a young family. Older kids will have a ball with mini golf, pitch & putt (all equipment is included), daily scheduled pool activities of which many are suitable for youth. There’s even special tweens and teen hours in the disco twice a week.

What’s Next? There’s Nothing Like a Visit with The Mouse – ‘Mickey’ that is, For All Ages at Disneyland.

Unwind & Explore in Mexico  

Escape the winter with Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.

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