Welcome to the first edition of my magazine Destination Insights. I hope you enjoy it and get some great ideas for your next vacation. I am a certified travel counsellor associated with Travel Professionals International and I LOVE my job. I am very passionate about travel and I have a huge bucket list of places around the world I want to see. I go on familiarization trips whenever I can and I am constantly taking courses to learn as much as I can about destinations, resort chains, cultures, cruises and tours. My job doesn’t end once your travel arrangements are made. I am here for you before, during and after your trip. Before I arrange your trip I find out exactly what you are looking for. Whether it be a romantic weekend away or the trip of a lifetime. Call me with questions about what to bring, what to expect and what to see and what to skip. To help with these questions I have made travel guides for your destination that answer many of these questions.
After your trip, I will call to find out how your time was, what you liked and if there was anything I could have done to have made your trip even better. I measure my success by your satisfaction. Please let me know where you are thinking about travelling to and when. I get hundreds of emails everyday from suppliers telling me about specials and niche vacations that they are putting together. I am more than willing to keep track of your wishes and send you out information when it comes in. Whatever you are interested in ... there is a vacation out there that will encompass that. Whether it be Wine and Culinary Tours, Cycling Adventures, Kayaking, Photography, World War II memories, Beatles or Elvis fans, Nascar to Formula One, riding on an elephant or a safari in Africa, trekking the outback or hot air ballooning. It could be river cruising, cruising on tall ships, small ships to the Galapagos or Hawaii or steamboating on the Mississippi.
For the first edition, I thought I would catch you up on the adventures that I have been on in the past couple of years. I have been planning this magazine in my head for a long time. Now that I am working at my business full time, I am able to put it all together. Most of the photos in this magazine are mine. I am not a professional photographer by any means, but hopefully they will give you an idea of the sights. I also want to let my clients and friends know that I really appreciate the confidence that you have shown in me over the last 6 years. I look forward to arranging your vacations in the future. I sincerely appreciate all the recommendations that I have been receiving. You can contact me anytime at 613-926-1707 | 866-926-1707 email@example.com Follow my adventures at www.facebook.com/destinationinsights
ere are women only tours, hard and soft adventure tours, literally anything and everything you can think of. Hopefully my magazine will inspire you to try something new or explore something old.
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Life e is Short. Explore Now. Drive a convertible Ferrri in Tuscany. Run with the bulls in Pamploma. Swim with the dolphins in Kaikoura. Sink a hole in one at St. Andrews. Stay out all night in Paris. Hike through the foothills of th Himilayas. Go skinny dipping at midnight in Reykjavik. Shower under a waterfall in Costa Rica. Watch th Palio from a balcony in Sienna. Make love on a beach in Vietnam. Sing Karaoke on a stage in Tokyo. Taste wine from the barrel in Burgundy. Watch Tiger Woods win the Masters. Find harmony in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Cook risotto with a Michelin-starred chf. Send a message in a bottle from Hong Kong. Follow an Aboriginal songline hroughout the Outback. Ride a camel across the Sahara. Sip champagne at the Wimbeldon finals. Go wild at Carnival in Rio. Travel the footsteps of Incas in Peru.
If you can imagine it, I can make it happen. Call Now!
I had the opportunity to travel to Antigua (pronounced an-TEE-gah) in December of 2010 with the Antigua Tourist Board and 10 other travel advisors. e Antiguan terrain rises gently from the water and consists of rolling hills that were cleared for sugarcane fields.
English Bay from Shirley Heights
e highest point on Antigua is Mount Obama (1,319 ft/402 m high). It will serve as the focal point of a new national park. e vegetation on Antigua consists of many diﬀerent kinds of cacti, and along the beaches, you'll find coconut, tamarind and sea-grape trees. ere are flowering plants, often
in profusion—hibiscus, oleander, bougainvillea and the bright red poinciana tree, also known as the flamboyant. e vegetation provides cover for crested hummingbirds and the yellow-breasted bananaquit.
Population: 84,522. Languages: English, often spoken with a Caribbean patois. Predominant Religions: Christian (Anglican). Time Zone: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts in some hotels and 220 volts everywhere else; 60 cycles. Country Code: 268
e leash law in Antigua even applies to cows!
Sightseeing Historical sights and idyllic nature spots form the islands' major attractions, both on land and at sea. ese are spread throughout the island and oﬀer a taste of the ancient mixed with modern tranquility. e major historic attractions lie just outside the city at Fort James and on the opposite tip of Antigua at the restored Nelson's Dockyard. e Frigate Bird Sanctuary in Barbuda is also worth experiencing.
Recreation Whether you get close to Southern stingrays or find oﬀ-road fun on a muddy quad adventure, you'll have lots of options for making your trip to Antigua as fast-paced or laid-back as you desire. You can zipline across a rain forest, or hail a helicopter for a bird'seye view of neighboring Montserrat. Explore secluded beaches on two or four legs, or put your scoring strength to the test with a game of golf or tennis.
Beaches As you'll be told over and over, Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Unless you have that much time, you'll need to be choosy. Possibly the most beautiful beach is the semicircular Half Moon Bay, east of Falmouth. (e north end of the beach, where the water is calmer, is the best place to swim.) Nonsuch Bay on the eastern shoreline is best for collecting shells. (A taxi ride from St. John's will cost about US$25.) If it's gorgeous sunsets you're after, head for Runaway Beach or Fort James on the northwestern shore, about a US$10 taxi fare from St.
Many windmills dot the countryside
John's. It's usually crowded with families, honeymooners and other vacationers. e mile of beach at Dickenson Bay is also popular and crowded, largely because of its proximity to St. John's and the variety of watersports available. Along Dickenson Bay, you'll also find Halcyon Cove and Buccaneer Cove, two very pretty beaches, both with a wide variety of amenities as well as Sandals Grande Anitgua. Hawksbill Beach is also within close proximity to St. John's and has the only resort with three of its own beaches, one of which is the only clothing-optional beach in Antigua. Darkwood Beach on Cades Bay, also on the southern coast, backs up to a lagoon that is a nesting area for many wild birds. ere's also a rustic beach bar. Darkwood Beach is usually quiet and largely empty, except when cruise ships visit the island—it's a favorite destination for passengers on shore excursions. If an idyllic, secluded spot is what you are after, try Turner's Beach. If beach volleyball is your game, try Jolly Beach. ere is usually a game under way, and newcomers are always welcome. ere is a restaurant nearby for refreshments after the match.
Bird Watching Oﬀ the northeast coast of Antigua, about 13 km east of St. John's, Great Bird Island is a breeding ground for the beautiful Red-billed Tropicbird. Day trips to the island for bird-watching (as well as snorkeling) are easily arranged in St. John's. e island is also home to the endangered Antiguan Racer snake.
Outhouse at Grand Pineapple
e Frigate Bird Sanctuary on Barbuda is another great option, where there are hundreds of diﬀerent kinds of birds to see in addition to the impressive frigate.
Boating & Sailing is is a popular boating destination, and Antigua hosts several major sailing events annually, including Sailing Week, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and the RORC Caribbean 600. e Antigua Yacht Club organizes informal afternoon races during boating season, as well as a handful of other races with local appeal. If you want to get out on the water yourself, you can pick from a wide variety of daily cruises. In terms of windsurfing, Antigua is one of the Northern Hemisphere's best-kept secrets, according to Peter Hart, the British windsurfing maven. To see what he's talking about, visit Jabberwock Beach, the center of the sport in Antigua.
Fishing Try your hand at deep-sea fishing for some red snapper, barracuda or kingfish on a half-day or full-day fishing trip on the Obsession. If you're feeling competitive, cast your line at the Antigua and Barbuda Annual Sport Fishing Tournament held in May.
Golf Golfers will want to try out the island's prize courses. e highly touted Cedar Valley Golf Club is located about 10 km northeast of St. John's. It's a par-70 championship course with views of the northern coast. Another option is Jolly Harbour Golf & Country Club, part of the Jolly Harbour Resort.
Scuba & Snorkeling ere are a dozen dive sites oﬀ Antigua. e 80-year-old freighter Andes lies in just 6 m of water in Deep Bay, near Royal Antiguan Hotel. Cades Reef (abundant colorful fish), oﬀ the southwest coast, and Stingray Bank (sea turtles, stingrays, coral), oﬀ the north coast, are home to a wide array of marine animals. You must be a certified diver and present your C card to rent equipment and go diving. e calm waters right oﬀ the beach at Dickenson Bay are ideal for snorkeling. Or sail to Green Island on a catamaran for the best snorkeling in Antigua.
Heritage Quay in St. John's is a popular waterfront complex with street vendors and duty-free shops carrying clothing, perfumes, jewelry, linens, china, local artworks, liqueurs and gift items. Be prepared to encounter huge crowds at Heritage Quay when the cruise ships are in port—which is often.
Shopping St. John's has great shopping, including duty-free shops in Heritage Quay that oﬀer English crystal, china and liqueurs, Antiguan rum, beautiful locally designed silk-screened material, local pottery, Haitian wood carvings and other handicrafts. Other popular souvenirs include local hot sauces and jam made from black pineapples and other fruits. Susie's Hot Sauce, the preferred local brand, has won several awards and been featured all over the world.
View from the spa at Curtain Bluﬀ
Antigua Hotel Site Inspections 4Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort 4Blue Waters Antigua 4Carlisle Bay 4Curtain Bluﬀ 4Galley Bay 4Grand Pineapple Beach Resort 4Hawk's Bill by Rex Resorts 4Hermitage Bay 4e Inn at English Harbour 4Jolly Beach Resort & Spa 4St. James Club 4Sandals Grande Antigua 4Sugar Ridge 4Tranquility Bay 4Verandah Resort & Spa We stayed at Jolly Beach and St. James Club, and did a circumnavigation of the island by catamaran.
Nelson’s Dockyard e yard was originally called "His Majesty's Antigua Naval Yard", it only became known as Nelson's Dockyard after a major restoration project which began in 1951 and is still ongoing today (a previous restoration attempt in 1932 was abandoned). Brief history: Construction of the naval yard at Nelson's Dockyard began in 1725. e dockyard in English Harbour was the headquarters of the British Leeward islands fleet during the late eighteenth and early and mid nineteenth centuries. Admiral Horatio Nelson served as a young Captain in the Caribbean Leeward Islands fleet for three years from 1784 until 1787 and during Nelson's period in Antigua the naval yard was greatly expanded. Nelson was the 26 year old Captain of HMS Boreas, based a the yard. e facility was closed down and abandoned by the British Navy in 1889. e principle buildings at Nelson's Dockyard include Fort Berkeley, built in 1704 and guarding the dockyard entrance in English Harbour; the 1855 Naval Oﬃcers House (now the naval yard museum including Nelson's room) and the Oﬃcers Quarters (now shops
and a restaurant), the 1789 Copper and Lumber Store (now a hotel), Cordage and Canvas Store and the 1778 Boat House and Joiners Loft. e old Boat House and Sail Loft was part destroyed by a hurricane in 1871. All that remains of the original building are the massive boat house pillars. e Seaman's Gallery built in 1778 (now a boutique and restaurant), the Pay Oﬃce (shops) and the 1788 Pitch and Tar Store (the Admirals Inn). Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour is today part of a National Park. It is the most important visitor attraction for the island of Antigua and incorporates a splendid yacht marina (home of the Antigua Sailing Week); a naval museum, nature trail to Fort Berkeley and a visitor centre. It is the only remaining Georgian dockyard in the World and many of the interesting historical buildings are open to the public.
My Pick for Antigua
e Gauguin cottages reflect the artist's lifestyle in Tahiti. As you approach, you'll see the peaked, thatched roofs poking above the foliage and a few hints of the thick, round walls of each unit - twin "rondoval" cottages joined by a sheltered breezeway. In the bedroom, cool, whitewashed walls, woven bamboo ceilings, louvered windows and terracotta tile create a rustic, Tahitian ambiance, with bold splashes of bright colour. Across the breezeway is a bath equipped with a shower and dressing area, with louvered windows providing fresh breezes and the refreshing sensation of a beach shower to complete the feeling
of being immersed in nature. You can brew your morning coﬀee in your room, then step outside and relax on your concealed patio, with its adjoining private plunge pool the perfect spot for a romantic dip. e spa is an open air one that is especially wonderful for me because I am extremely sensitive to scents and cannot go into most spas. e treatment rooms are on stilts overlooking the lagoon area. e Gaughin Restaurant is on the beach and the tables are palapa huts with tiny white lights decorating them. e overall atmosphere of the resort is romantic and relaxing.
I had the opportunity to travel to Barbados in June of 2011 with the Barbados Tourist Board Barbados is still very British. In fact, the island is commonly referred to as "Little England." Afternoon teatime is observed in some circles, cricket is the national passion and polo is played all winter. Many villages, streets, monuments and parks in Barbados are named after locations in the U.K., as well. And Bajans (BAY-juns), as they call themselves, often possess a bit of the English reserve, putting emphasis on good manners.
What's more, British aristocrats have wintered in Barbados for decades, and the island reflects their influence in many ways. î “e resorts are luxurious, and the restaurants provide fine dining. Even duty-free shops are more upscale than those on other Caribbean islands. In recent years, the culture has seen an increase in American influence and more appreciation of African roots as well, resulting in a revitalized discourse on Barbadian identity, particularly in the arts. Barbados is generally conservative, and prides itself on being Christian. î “ough eďŹƒcient is a word that is not used often in the Caribbean, it fits Barbados better than many other islands. It's been catering to visitors for decades and has one of the most fully developed tourism infrastructures in the region. Although Barbados lacks rain forests, mountainous terrain and world-class reef systems, the island's
Population: 283,224 Languages: English, Bajan dialect Predominant Religions: Christian (Church of England, other Protestant sects, Roman Catholic), Jewish, Muslim and Ratafarian. Time Zone: 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110/120 volts natural beauty and scenic variety are magnificent. You'll find dramatic natural caves, rocky cliﬀs with blowholes by the sea, miles/kilometers of sugarcane fields and some remote scenic beaches. ose seeking a week of relaxation on beautiful beaches, perhaps with a little nightlife and history mixed in, will likely be pleased with what Barbados has to oﬀer. Another plus is the people of Barbados. Bajans are some of the besteducated people in the Caribbean (Barbados boasts a literacy rate of 99%), and they enjoy conversing on a wide range of subjects. is quality even spills over into entertainment: e island's calypso music always has something to say and often deals with Barbados politics. English is the oﬃcial language, but a dialect with its own syntax, special meanings and some African words is also spoken. ough it may seem like a cross between bad English and gibberish, it is remarkably expressive and is often used even by the highly educated for emphasis or comic eﬀect.
Highlights Sights—e stained-glass windows of St. Michael's Cathedral; the mysterious 1,000-year-old baobab tree in Queen's Park; the many historic military buildings at e Garrison in Bridgetown; a distillery tour at the Mount Gay Rum refinery in St. Michael Parish; Harrison's Cave, a series of dramatic limestone caverns; Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill in St.
Andrew Parish; serenely beautiful Codrington College; the Bathsheba Shoreline; Andromeda Botanical Gardens. Museums—e island's colorful heritage at the Barbados Museum; vintage cars at the Mallalieu Motor Collection at Pavilion Court; colonial history at Sunbury Plantation House & Museum; the marine life museum within the Folkestone Marine Park; the history of sugar-making in Barbados at the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum; the Nidhe Israel Museum of the island's Jewish heritage; social and political history in the Museum of Parliament; George Washington House at the Garrison; Arlington House in Speightstown; Springvale Eco-Heritage Museum in the scenic Scotland District; the little museum at St. Nicholas Abbey. Memorable Meals—Sunday lunch in sea-sprayed Bathsheba at a choice of restaurants; Bajan dishes in a lush garden setting at Brown Sugar; upscale seaside dining at Champers or Pisces. Late Night—Two happy hours and nightly music at the Ship Inn; beach parties at Harbour Lights on Bay Street; a tropical dinner show at the Plantation Restaurant & Garden eatre; dancing at McBride's Pub & Cookhouse in St. Lawrence Gap; anywhere in Oistins on the weekend; Lexy Piano Bar in Holetown. Walks—Free nature walks with the Barbados National Trust on Sunday; guided hikes along the Arbib Heritage and Nature Trail; exploring the streets and waterfront of historic downtown Bridgetown; tranquil, green Welchman
Hall Gully; the South Coast Boardwalk. Especially for Kids—Feeding green monkeys and other local wildlife at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve; e Concorde Experience next to the airport; playing on the water toys at e Boatyard.
Geography Although the island is only 23 km wide and 34 km long, its geography varies dramatically. Rugged hills and rough seas are typical of the eastern side. (e highest point, Mount Hillaby, rises 340 m above the sea.) Gentle, rolling hills on the western side are lush with sugarcane fields. On the western coast, you'll also find white-sand beaches, coral reefs and stunning seas that range in color from deep blue to transparent green.
Do’s and Don’ts 4 Do have someone cut you a piece of raw cane if you visit one of the sugar plantations. (Try sucking it— don't chew it.) I can't promise you'll like the taste or the texture (the sweetness depends on how ripe it is), but it's an experience everyone should have. 4 Do visit a rum shop (bar) in the afternoon, order a bottle of rum (they come in three sizes), a bowl of ice and a mixer. Mix your drink, then join in the local banter. 4 Do try to attend a cricket match to observe the national pastime. 4 Don't expect to gamble, since there are no casinos. ere are slot machines, however. 4 Do expect to pay a fee to use hotel beach facilities (such as sun loungers and umbrellas) if you're not a guest, although the beaches themselves are all public. 4 Do be aware that the island's freshwater is not as abundant as it seems, and that electricity generation is fueled by oil, so it is appropriate (and considerate) not to waste them. 4 Do expect a wide variety of nightlife on the island, ranging from discos to local bands (including indigenous tuk bands and steel bands). 4 Don't go topless on the beach if you're a woman—it's illegal. 4 Do say good morning, afternoon, evening or night when entering a populated space. is greeting can be addressed generally to all and sundry or to the person whose eyes first meet yours. It's considered basic good manners to do so. 4 Don't be alarmed if you hear shouting. Caribbean people tend to be loud, and many disputes are agreeable rituals that end in a good laugh.
Banks Beer Visitors Center Enjoy a tour of the brewery and bottling plant, including a stop at the beer garden and souvenir shop for a sample. Mount Gay Rum | Mount Gay Rum is the best known of the Barbados rums and also has the longest history: It was probably first produced in the 1600s (accounts vary as to the exact year, anywhere from 1663 to 1703). George Washington House | is is where young Washington stayed in 1751 with his brother Lawrence, whose doctor prescribed Barbados as a cure for his ailments. e museum upstairs explains what George saw and learned there, and how his visit to Barbados marked a turning point in his life. e Garrison | e Garrison area is a collection of historic military buildings, including the Barbados Museum, St. Ann's Fort, the George Washington House and a rare collection of 17th-century iron cannons left over from the years when Barbados was an important military base. Tyrol Cot Heritage Village | is is the flagship property of Barbados National Trust. Built in 1854, the onetime home of Sir Grantley Adams is an architectural gem and the centerpiece of a re-created village featuring traditional Bajan chattel houses and a rum shop set in 3 acres/1 hectare of gardens. Gun Hill Signal Station | is old military outpost was built by the British in 1818 to signal the arrival of ships and warn plantation owners of fires and slave uprisings. e station has a wonderful statue of a lion that was carved out of a single piece of rock by bored British soldiers in 1868—it's kept pristine with white paint to this day. Excellent views. Andromeda Botanical Gardens | Contains the private gardens and botanical collection of the late Iris Bannochie, who was a world-renowned horticulturist. It's worth a visit of several hours to explore the beautiful hibiscus, bougainvillea, orchids, palms, ferns,
philodendrons and other flora. ere's also a lovely gift shop and a cafe. Animal Flower Cave | is large sea cave in the cliﬀ has several chambers and pools, and rock formations, but few if any remaining sea anemones that give it its name. Swimming in the pools is allowed with permission, but they're often closed when the weather is bad, so check ahead. Harrison’s Cave | Oﬀers a one-hour ride past spectacular stalagmites, stalactites, underground rivers and waterfalls on a subterranean tram. ere's an interpretive display on geology, a lightrefreshment area, handicraft shops and a nature walk, topside. Tours to the cave are available from Bridgetown. e Concorde Experience | From 1977 until the airline's demise, Barbados was one of only four regularly scheduled Concorde destinations. One of the revolutionary, supersonic planes is displayed in e Concorde Experience, a state-of-the art, interactive aviation museum located next to the airport. Sunbury Plantation House & Museum | More than 300 years old but completely restored after a fire, this is the only plantation home in Barbados that opens all of its rooms to the public. ere are guided tours, and a fascinating array of farm, carriage and domestic equipment. e full-service on-site restaurant oﬀers breakfast and lunch, and elegant candlelit dinners are available for groups by advance reservation. Plantation Restaurant & Garden eatre | Bajan Roots and Rhythms is a tropical dinner show with colorful choreography, steel bands, limbo dancers and fire eaters. Performances are Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 pm. Bds$170 adults, Bds$132 teens for hotel transportation, the show, buﬀet and unlimited drinks; Bds$99 adults, Bds$66 teens for show and drinks only. For the latter option, go at 8 pm.
St. Lawrence Gap St.Lawrence Gap, a 1.3 km stretch of road in the parish of Christ Church, is famous for it's fine restaurants, diverse accommodation, lively nightlife and good shopping. 'e Gap', as it is commonly known, is a place where various cultures meet and merge ... it is an experience that should not be missed!
Barbados Hotel Site Inspections 4Accra Beach Hotel & Spa 4Almond Casuarina Beach Hotel 4e Crane Resort & Residences 4Fairmont Royal Pavillion 4Hilton Barbados 4Island Inn Hotel 4Mango Bay 4Ocean Two 4Southern Palms Beach Club 4Sugar Hill 4Sweetfield Manor 4Tamarind 4Turtle Beach
We stayed at Ocean Two. We saw the Bajan Roots and Rhythms show, Island Safari, saw Fantastia in concert, went to Oistens for an evening, and went on a catamaran ride to swim with the sea turtles. We were also hosted for an evening at Harbour Lights and got to participate in a jump-up down St. Lawrence Gap. Just a warning for the shyer types. e dancing is quite demonstrative. I am sure we would be arrested in Canada for “wukking up”.
Photos clockwise from the top right: e Garrison District, George Washington House, Harrison’s Caves, e Concorde Experience, Sunbury Plantation, Bajan Roots & Rythyms Show, Tyrol, Cot Village, Swimming with the sea turtles, Banks beer poster, dancers at the jump up.
e popular image of Jamaica is emerald rain forests, waterfalls that tumble into cool, clear streams, and glorious beaches that rival any in the Caribbean. e legendary "cool" of Jamaican culture is heard in its reggae music and by the dry wit of the young Jamaican men who pilot visitors down the Great River on bamboo rafts. You won't easily forget the throngs of competing taxi drivers who swarm outside the Crafts Market in Montego Bay. Jamaica is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich islands in the Caribbean with an economy that depends largely on tourism. Explore the countryside and mingle with the locals, as they are friendly and truly delighted to meet and greet tourists who visit their island. e physical beauty and vibrant culture of Jamaica are still its greatest assets, and the good cheer among its people makes for a memorable vacation.
Negril Watching the sun set from Negril’s glorious seven-mile stretch of beach, it’s easy to see why the flower children of the 60s flocked to this remote spot at the western tip of Jamaica. e beach is now lined with appealing resorts from well known Jamaica-based all-inclusive chains such as Sandals, Couples, SuperClubs, Spain-based Riu and other developers. Wisely, all buildings are limited to the height of the coconut trees and set back, so the broad beach and oﬀshore reefs feel as unspoiled and inviting as ever.
Laid-back and laissez-faire: e let-it-be, no-worries attitude is most felt in the West End area. Here boutique hotels such as Rockhouse and Tensing Pen Resort, and modest guest houses are tucked into the dramatic rocky cliﬀs. ere are also a number of small, friendly eateries and bars. e area’s first and most famous, Rick’s Café, has ballooned in size and patronage, but retains its funky feel and sunset cliﬀ diving tradition. Dining and dancing: Great seafood and Jamaican cuisine have
Population: 2,847,232 Languages: English, Jamaican patois Predominant Religions: Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic), Rastafarian.. Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. 220volt systems exist in some larger properties.
become a Negril hallmark, both in the resorts, in Negril’s small town, and at seaside restaurants like Norma’s on the Beach, Cosmo’s Seafood Restaurant and Marguerite’s. Come evening, it’s easy to find great music. Visitors and locals get down to the sound of live reggae bands at clubs along Norman Manley Boulevard or at beachfront bars such as Alfred’s Ocean Palace and Risky Business, and downstairs at e Jungle Night Club & Sports Bar.
Do’s and Don’ts 4 Do try to get a taste of Jamaican music, especially reggae, which developed in the late 1960s. Bob Marley is the all-time great of reggae. Other big names include Marley's son Ziggy, ird World, Jimmy Cliﬀ, and Toots and the Maytals. Ska, a dance music that was a precursor to reggae, is best heard performed by the Skatalites. Dub and dance hall are more modern reggae styles typified by such performers as Beenie Man & Bounty Killer, Mutabaruka (a dub poet) and Buju Banton.
Active in nature: Negril’s oﬀshore reefs and sea grottoes provide a colourful and pristine haven for a parade of sea life that can be explored on a glass-bottom boat, or on snorkel or scuba diving expeditions. Sea-kayaking along the cliﬀs and canoe trips through mangrove forests as well as mountain biking and horseback rides are among the active ways to explore Negril’s natural attractions. ere’s also an 18-hole golf course just south of town.
4 Do try jerk chicken or pork, but have a cold Red Stripe or Real Rock beer ready to wash it down—it's very spicy. 4 Do remember that nothing happens terribly fast in Jamaica, so relax, adopt the island mantra—"no problem, mon"—and remember that you're on vacation. 4 Do sign up for a bike tour of the Blue Mountains before sunrise. 4 Don't touch or stand on coral as it is extremely sensitive and can be destroyed by a simple touch. 4 Don't buy drugs and know the risks if you're tempted to try some of the illegal drugs that are easy to find in Jamaica. ose found with illegal substances, including marijuana and cocaine, could be fined or jailed. 4 Do have ready the name and address of the place you are staying your first night. Immigration oﬃcials will ask for that information when you arrive. 4 Do allow the locals to answer at their own pace. If you want to be liked, speak softly and quietly. 4 Don’t forget when it comes to day attire, beachwear is only considered appropriate for the poolside or the sand and is frowned upon elsewhere.
Nearby, the Royal Palm Reserve in the Great Morass wetlands draws nature lovers with its boardwalk and 30-foot observation tower overlooking the mangroves. Among the endemic species spotted here are the endangered West Indian whistling duck and the national bird, the streamer-tailed hummingbird, or Doctor Bird along with over three hundred other species of tropical birds, animals, butterflies and reptiles and one of the largest stands of Royal Palms in the world. ere’s also a crocodile farm and museum on site. e only Dunn’s River Falls
downside can be mosquitoes, so bring repellent while exploring the Reserve. Despite its growth, Negril retains its laid-back, anything-goes allure. Here, you can find discrete clothing optional beaches and even pool areas and eateries, especially at Hedonism II, which is known for its party-hearty ambience.
Montego Bay With its white-sand beaches backed by flower-splashed hillsides, Montego Bay, or MoBay, has been a popular tourism destination since the late 1800s, when rich travelers from the U.S. and England began coming by sea to escape the winter cold. World-class destination: As airplanes came into vogue, upscale properties such as the former Half Moon Hotel–now a much-evolved Half Moon, A RockResort– started springing up. ese clubby intimate properties, including Round Hill Hotel & Villas and the Tryall Club, Golf, Tennis and Beach Resort, have been joined by larger resorts such as the Holiday Inn Sunspree. All-inclusive giant Sandals, which got its start here, as well as Iberostar, Secrets, Hilton, and Ritz Carlton all have luxury properties here. Plus, MoBay oﬀers a wide array of nonresort accommodations, ranging from butler-serviced private villas to inexpensive guest houses.
Rafting on the Martha Brae Ri
Today, the modern Montego Bay’s Sangster International airport (MBJ), mega-cruise ship pier, Historic Falmouth, and brand new Montego Bay Convention Centre-along with its unsurpassed variety of unique adventures, experiences and accommodations--make Montego Bay the tourism hub for Jamaica and one of the most fascinating destinations in the Caribbean. e Hip Strip: Few visitors leave MoBay without exploring the shopping, dining and party center known as the Hip Strip. is seaside mile-long stretch of Gloucester Avenue is lively day and night and a playground for visiting celebrities. Popular hangouts include Margaritaville where, a 120-foot chute drops patrons from the deck into the sea, and almost every night brings another theme party night. Another favorite, the Rum Jungle Café & Bar, is open 24 hours a day, serving up more than 100 types of rum and live music nightly. A peek at the past: Montego Bay played an important role in Jamaica’s plantation past and liberation movement. Sam Sharpe Square, named for the national hero whose Christmas Rebellion of 1831 helped end slavery, has a statue of Sam Sharpe and a museum housed in e Cage, a 19th century jail for runaway slaves and drunks. Rose Hall Plantation
In the surrounding hills, several former plantation great houses are open to the public. e most famous, Rose Hall, is said to be haunted by the ghost of the infamous Annie Palmer, who reportedly murdered three husbands and many more slave lovers before she herself was slain. e nature of MoBay: Just east of town, you have the rare opportunity to experience Glistening Waters, a phosphorescent lagoon filled with bioluminescent microorganisms that light up when moved. Boat tours depart nightly from the Glistening Waters Marina and Restaurant. Another rare natural find beckons on the Martha Brae, where you can float down the scenic river on bamboo rafts. Also, at the Rocklands Bird Feeding Station in Anchovy, bird lovers can hand-feed hummingbirds, grassquits and dozens of other colorful species. Popular family activities include Animal Farm, where kids can explore the natural habitat of exotic birds, ride a donkey, view farm animals and experience solar electricity in action. rill seekers can go zip-lining through the jungle canopy, oﬀ-road exploring in an ATV, Jeep or mountain biking or splashing through the surf on horseback. Rick’s Cafe
Ocho Rios Fifty years ago, Ocho Rios was a small fishing village. ere were a few upscale villas and hideaways like the ever-popular Jamaica Inn that welcomed the likes of Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, Noel Coward and Marilyn Monroe, as well as Firefly, home of playwright Noel Coward, and now a museum. Happily, its city fathers and the Jamaica Tourist Board saw the potential of its verdant mountainbacked shores, stunning waterfalls and running rivers and began deepening the bay and building out its beaches to attract new development. A planned resort: e result is a picture perfect bay with a cruise port located steps from the edge of town that welcomes between one and three liners almost every day. From here, it’s easy for visitors to head out on an ever-growing number of iconic adventures, while a growing array of resorts and villas oﬀer plenty of reasons to stay. In fact, Ocho Rios, or "Ochi," has become Jamaica’s second largest tourist center and its number one cruise port. While less developed than Montego Bay, the coastline of Ocho Rios and neighboring Runaway Bay read like a who’s who of Jamaican all inclusives: Sandals,
Couples, Breezes, and Riu are among those with properties here, along with family oriented brands such as Beaches and the Franklyn D. Resort & Spa. Other choices include private staﬀed villas and chic properties like Island Outposts’ Golden Eye Hotel, former home of author Ian Fleming, which is located just 30 minutes away in Oracabessa. Waterfall and river adventures: Ocho Rios could describe the area’s many rivers, but most think its name comes from the Spanish "los chorreros", which means waterfalls. e most visited of these, Dunn’s River Falls, with its 600-foot climb and cool pools along the way, is practically synonymous with Ocho Rios.
Waterfalls also set the scene for e Ruins Restaurant, and Coyaba River Garden and Museum, built on the grounds of former Shaw Park Plantation. Another favorite activity is floating down the White River on inner tubes, stopping to swim along the way. For an adrenalin rush, go ziplining through the forest. Adventures in nature: Two unique experiences have been inspired by Jamaica’s Olympic bobsled and international dog-sled teams: a bobsleigh roller coaster through the jungle canopy and a sled-team pulled buggy ride through the countryside. Adventurers can also explore the back country by ATV, dune buggy,
and in a 4X4 or on horseback rides through jungle trails and into the surf, while Prospect Plantation, a working agricultural property dating back to the 18th century, can be explored on camel- or horse-back and in open-air carriages. Catching the beat: Just a few miles from Ocho Rios is the rural mountain village of Nine Mile, reggae great Bob Marley’s birthplace. Here, you can tour his boyhood home, often guided by his relatives, who share tales of his life and his music. Back in Ocho Rios, clubs such as Margaritaville, Amnesia and Jamaic'N Me Crazy rock into the wee hours of the morning.
Jamaica Hotel Site Inspections Montego Bay 4Ritz Carleton Montego Bay 4Sandals Montego Bay 4Secrets St James 4Secrets Wild Orchid 4Toby's Inn 4Wexford Court Runaway Bay 4Breezes Runaway Bay 4Gran Bahia Principe 4Iberostar Rose Hall Beach 4Iberostar Rose Hall Suites 4Iberostar Rose Hall Grand 4Royal Decameron Club Caribbean
Ocho Rios 4Beaches Boscobel 4Couples Tower Isle 4Jewel Dunn's River (formerly Sandals Dunn`s River Villagio) I have seen this resort under both 4Royal Plantation 4Sandals Grande Riviera
Negril 4Beaches Negril 4Couples Swept Away 4Country Country 4Hedonism II 4Riu Palace Tropical Bay 4Sandals Negril 4Tensing Pen
My Top Picks for Jamaica I have three favourites in Jamaica and they are all completely diﬀerent from one another. At Tensing Pen I felt like I was in Fiji with all the stone huts and thatched roofs. Country Country was a beautiful little village with individual cottages. Secrets is a very modern resort and I loved the decor.
Tensing Pen is located on the western tip of Negril, Jamaica, and is the ultimate destination Jamaican resort for the discerning traveler. is beautiful Jamaican resort was created to provide a secluded getaway in Jamaica and has evolved into a unique destination Jamaican resort with a collection of wood, thatch and cut stone cottages of a varying sizes and increasing luxuries for the perfect relaxing vacation on the coast of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea.
Country Country Hand crafted cottages rest waiting for you along Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach. Your world becomes a jungle, on the beach .... with room service. In a carefully designed village there is little left to be desired... and if you do think of something ... just take a stroll along the beach and catch the vibes of Jamaica at her natural best.
Secrets Wild Orchid Secrets St. James Tucked away from the speed of everyday life is a place where turquoise tides hug white-sand beach and blue mountain range extends as far as your eyes can see. is exotic hideaway, only 20 minutes from the Montego Bay airport, is inspired by the lush tapestry of flowers which dot the landscape—Secrets Wild Orchid and Secrets St. James.
Population: 2,847,232 Languages: English, Jamaican patois Predominant Religions: Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic), Rastafarian.. Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. 220volt systems exist in some larger properties.
Dominican Republic Hotel Site Inspections La Romana 4 4 4 4 4
Dreams La Romana Gran Bahia Principe La Romana Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace
Punta Cana 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Barcelo Dominican Beach Barcelo Bavaro Beach Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe Bavaro Princess Resort & Spa Caribe Club Princess Dreams Palm Beach Gran Bahia Principe Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa Grand Palladium Punta Cana Palace Grand Palladium Bavaro Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Iberostar Dominicana & Punta Cana Iberostar Bavaro Iberostar Grand Majestic Colonial Majestic Elegance Now Larimar Ocean Blue Ocean Sand Riu Palace Punta Cana Riu Palace Macau Riu Mambo Secrets Royal Beach e Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium VIK Hotel Arena Blanca & Cayena Beach Club
We stayed at the Riu Punta Cana Palace and went on the Outback Explorer the first time I was in Punta Cana April 2010. In December 2011 we stayed at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus and went of the Saona Island Explorer in La Romana. We stayed at the Barcelo Palace Deluxe and went on the Dr. Fish Ocean Spa in Punta Cana.
Located about 100 mi/160 km east of Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and its neighbor Bavaro are ground zero in the all-inclusive resort explosion. ey're located along a beautiful 30-mi/48-km stretch of white-sand beach lined with coconut palms. is lovely strip of shore looks like it was taken straight oﬀ a travel poster and has perhaps the finest (and certainly the longest and whitest) beaches and most beautiful turquoise and jade seas in the country. Most hotels concentrate in Bavaro, although the entire coast has become known as Punta Cana, which is really a separate and somewhat more exclusive area about 10 mi/16 km south of Bavaro. In the communities just inland from Bavaro, unregulated development has stolen all charm away from the sands and seas. e largest complex is the Barcelo Bavaro complex, with more than 2,000 rooms, its own casino, two discos and an 18-hole golf course. e Bavaro resorts are closer together than those in Punta Cana, allowing for more movement between properties. Hotel development continues to make public beach access more diﬃcult year by year, although several narrow access lanes lie hidden between the resorts. Although more development is moving into this area, the resorts of Punta Cana have so far retained the relaxed atmosphere most visitors expect from a Caribbean vacation spot. Much of the recent ongoing development is centered on Cap Cana, south of Punta Cana proper; and at Macao and neighboring Uvero Alto, about a 40-minute drive north of Bavaro. ere is plenty to do outside the hotels, including an increasing number of deluxe options. Jeep safaris lead to waterfalls and more remote beaches such as Playa Macao, which is popular for ATV and horseback tours. Four theme parks—the Marinarium, Dolphin Island Park, Manati Park and Animal Adventure Park—oﬀer plenty of thrilling options, such as swimming with dolphins, sea lion shows and crocodile exhibits.
One of my All Time Favourite Excursions Dr. Fish Ocean Spa is a unique 3 hour spa excursion. Clients aboard the Ocean Spa boat are pampered with a relaxing massage, a gentle pilates/yoga session and foot detox while cruising the turquoise waters of Bavaro beach. e boat then makes an oﬀshore stop where the clients can chill some more on floating mattresses. e next stop is to their oﬀshore aquarium. And here’s where the fun starts! You get to experience the Dr. Fish pedicure. Sitting down you place your feet inside a mini aquarium full of little
fish – the Dr. Fish. e scientific name for this fish species is Garra Rufa. ese freshwater fish are
native to the rivers of Turkey, Japan and most of the middle east where they have been used for decades to alleviate skin problems like psoriasis and eczema.
Dr. Fish are happy to feed on a diet of dead skin. ey have no teeth, they nibble away at any dead skin (they don’t eat living skin) with their little mouths leaving your feet smooth and exfoliated. Now that’s a unique Punta Cana experience though it might be a bit much to bear for the extremely ticklish ;-) e cost for this 3 hour treatfor-you-feet and pamper session is around 120$US and includes soft refreshments and hotel transportation. e excursion is available though your hotel tour rep.
My Top Picks for Punta Cana
Majestic Colonial & Elegance
Barcelo Bavaro Beach
Dreams Palm Beach
Barcelo Dominican Beach
I spent 5 days in Orlando with the Visit Orlando Tourism Board on a TPI exclusive fam. It was an extremely busy 5 days starting with the Boggy Creek Adventure after we arrived at our host hotel Lake Buena Vista Resort and then to the Arabian Nights dinner theatre. Day 2 started with a tour of the Nickelodeon Resort and character breakfast. After that we headed to Disney World for 6 hours with a park hopper pass. ree of us decided to check out as many hotels as we could. Next it was a site inspection of the Waldorf Astoria and the Hilton for dinner. Day 3 started with a site inspection of the Doubletree Orlando and breakfast, then oﬀ to Dolphin Cove, Aquatica and Sea World. We were invited to a reception that evening after our backstage tour of Sea World and a special performance of One World. Day 4: Site inspection of Loew’s Royal Pacific, VIP Tour of Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, site inspection of Hard Rock Hotel, stop at Wet ‘n Wild and then a progressive dinner on Restaurant Row. Day 5: I had the most enjoyable morning floating in the sky in a hot air balloon with Orlando Balloon Rides. After we had a seminar on the Adventure attractions and then loaded onto the bus for our drive to Ft. Lauderdale to catch our cruise.
We spent a week on the Allure of the Seas for our annual TPI Conference. While we were on the ship we were in class learning about all our diﬀerent suppliers and networking with fellow agents. Our first stop was in Labadee, Haiti at Royal Caribbean`s private compound. I was there a few years ago on another cruise and it has been significantly enlarged including ziplines and a lot more activities. Our second stop was in Falmouth, Jamaica at the new port. A colleague and I went rafting on the Martha Brae. It was a very relaxing way to spend the day. Our third stop was in Cozumel. I have been to this island many times and we went to do a site inspection of the Occidental Cozumel. Allure of the Seas has seven distinct neighborhoods filled with awesome new features —like the first Starbucks® at sea, Broadway hit musical Chicago in the main theater, and favorite moments with Shrek, Po the panda, and more friends in the DreamWorks® Experience. Spice up your sailing with margaritas and Mexican-fare favorites at Rita's Cantina, or with prime cuts straight from the skewer at Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. And there's still
plenty more Oasis-class WOWs to be had, from the classic carousel on the Boardwalk®, to aerial acrobats in the Aquaeater, FlowRider® surf simulators, plus zip line views over Central Park®—a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants. e ship was beautiful but I must admit at times you could definitely tell how many people were on the ship. e staterooms were also smaller than on other ships I have been on. We got to meet with Captain Zini and he is quite proud that his ship is 2`longer than the Oasis. He has quite the sense of humour and he also stopped by the night we had the TPI Has Talent Night. e Dreamworks characters also popped in to our meetings every once in a while. e food was quite good in the main dining room and in the buﬀet. I had a problem with my allergies though. I am extremely allergic to garlic and everything that was on the dinner menu had garlic in it. On other ships I have sailed on I would be given the menu for dinner the next night and whatever I chose would be prepared for me without garlic. Nothing like that was available on the Allure. Luckily, I won`t die from my allergy, but it was not pleasant.
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Mexico is one of my favourite destinations. I love the people.
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Yahualica It drives me 28 Colotlan 29 San Miguel Guanajuato Yucatan Tepic del Allende crazy when the media Leon Hidalgo Puerto Vallarta Guadalajara Quintana broadcasts that it is not Jalisco 33 35 Mexico City Roo Veracruz Tiaxcala Campeche Morelia D.F. safe to travel to Mexico. Yes, there Villahermosa 36 Colima Cuernavaca 34 Michoacan Ver Morelos Puebla acr Tabasco uz 37 are certain parts of the country that Ciudad Altamirano 38 43 Oaxaca Ixtapa Guerrero San Cristobal del las Casas you shouldn’t travel to and the red areas of 40 42 Zihuatanejo 39 Oaxaca Chiapas 41 the map highlight them. e most popular tourist Acapulco Puerto Excondido areas are very safe to travel to. Twenty million tourists Huatulco travelled to Mexico last year. Unfortunately people are injured and murdered everywhere. Even here at home. It just isn’t front page news. Since 2006 there have been 22 Canadians killed in Mexico, including the 5 people who were in the explosion at the State Department advisory Grand Princess. In 2010 alone there were 554 homicides in Canada. Exercise extreme caution, particularly at night. If you travel to Mexico and stick to the tourist willtobe fine. are areas every thatAriz., youto limit should Exerciseareas, caution,you limit travel main roadsere during daylight hours, in cross border city at Luleville, drivingtake caution in. If you are going to frequent bars, if you are going to look for drugs, if you are buying or selling drugs, or involved in any kind of illicit activity, your odds of being aﬀected by violence in Mexico are going to increase dramatically. through Mexico. So please explore the Mayan Riviera, Cancun, Los Cabos and Huatulco. ey are beautiful places and you will be Exercise extreme caution. 3 Nogales enriched by the culture and the history and want to go back again and again. Defer non-essential travel. 4 Saric
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On Line Reviews
Defer non-essential travel.
Defer non-essential travel. Defer non-essential travellikes to city.TripAdvisor. words about online review site
Please take the reviews with a grain of salt. You don’t know what the person’s expectations were of the property, where they have travelled and stayed before, whether they were at the right resort to suit them or if nothing will please them. Some people just like to complain. e first people to write a review are the ones that are upset about something. e ones that are happy take a while to fill one out or don’t do it at all. ere have also been cases on TripAdvisor where the reviews are false or have been written by the competition to build up their own business. In some cases people have been paid to write unfavourable reviews. Check out Monarc.ca. is is a review site that is for Canadians. In order to post a review on the site you must enter your booking number. at way you know that the person has stayed there. If you go with an open mind and remember that you are on vacation and don’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning or dealing with the stress of everyday life you will in most cases have a great time. Please check with your travel advisor to see if the resort you are planning to go to is the correct property for you. It is our job to learn about the diﬀerent resorts and to match you to the one that suits your needs the best.
Travel with confidence... Are you ready for your trip? I understand that when you’re travelling, you don’t want to worry about a thing. But events happen, even to the well-prepared travellers. You may have to cancel your trip at the last minute to tend to a family emergency. You may need medical assistance when you’re away. Your baggage may go missing, or there may be damage to your personal property. You just never know.
You’re not completely ready for your trip if you haven’t: > Protected your travel investment from unforeseen emergencies with trip cancellation and interruption insurance > Protected yourself with emergency medical insurance you can count on, no matter where in the world you're travelling > Protected your valuables with baggage and personal eﬀects insurance Choose the protection that’s right for you ere are several diﬀerent types of travel insurance that can be purchased individually or as part of a package. ey’re each designed to protect your travel investment and ensure you travel with confidence. DELUXE PACKAGE is highly recommended by travellers and insurance representatives alike. ese are the most comprehensive packages, providing coverage for a broad range of travel emergencies. Features include: > Unlimited benefits for emergency medical expenses > A subsistence allowance, if you need to extend your stay > Cancellation and interruption insurance when purchased in a package provides protection for 44 specified situations that could prevent you from travelling as planned, including coverage specific to cruise vacations > Baggage and Personal Eﬀects insurance in the event that your personal eﬀects are lost, damaged, or delayed > Flight Accident Insurance > Travel Accident Insurance
NON-MEDICAL PACKAGE e Non-Medical Package protects your travel investment with these important features: > Trip cancellation and interruption insurance > Baggage and personal eﬀects insurance in case your personal eﬀects are lost, damaged or delayed > Flight accident insurance > Travel accident insurance Every travel arrangement is an investment. Domestic airfare and tour arrangements are often subject to expensive cancellation penalties. is means that should you be unable to travel as planned, due to illness or an injury, you could risk losing your travel investment. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance protects you for up to 44 specified situations. CLASSIC MEDICAL Medical coverage for travellers under 60 Classic Medical Insurance provides unlimited emergency medical care provided the condition you are seeking treatment for was stable (as defined in the policy) in the 90 days before you leave on the trip. is
coverage can also arrange to have the costs paid directly, so that you don’t have any upfront out-ofpocket expenses. Government Health Insurance Plans Don't Cover Everything Anytime you leave Canada—even for a few hours—without travel medical insurance, you're taking a big risk. Like many Canadians, you might be surprised to know that when you travel outside Canada, you leave a large portion of your government health insurance plan (GHIP) behind. Government health insurance plans also typically cover only a limited portion of medical costs once you leave your home province or territory, even if you are still in Canada. Credit Cards Don’t Always Cover Everything Some credit cards cover basic health insurance when you are travelling outside your province/ territory of residence or Canada. Before you take a trip, it's a good idea to review any coverage provided by your credit card(s) to decide whether you need additional insurance.
Buy travel insurance as though you're going to use it No one takes a trip assuming the worst. But should something happen, it's good to know that you and the people you care about will be protected. An essential part of every trip, travel insurance is a small expense for a tremendous amount of confidence!
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