Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Fifty Shades of Green

I left dull, dreary Toronto April 21 on the direct Air Transat flight and arrived in Dublin to green grass, blooming flowers and spring!  Our first night was spent at the majestic Kilronan Castle.  With the beautiful Irish lake and hills as the backdrop it was a perfect start to our week long trip to Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.  After experiencing a night befitting that of Irish lords and ladies we travelled to Belfast for a two night stay at the Malone Lodge Hotel in Belfast.  With Belfast as our center we toured Florence Court, a beautiful manor.  You could envision the lives of the wealthy as well as their downstairs staff.  Touring through the emerald rolling countryside we lunched at a lakeside restaurant and then off to the ancient Navan Fort.  Belfast is a mix of the old and new.  The Belfast City Hall is a work of art, the Crumlin Road Gaol as cold and eerie as you could imagine and the Titanic Museum is a wonderful example of a museum that attempts to bring back to life and times of the Titanic in the making.  Next to the museum is where Game of Thrones is filmed but to my disappointment Tyrion Lancaster or Jon Snow were not filming to make my trip to Belfast complete.  We had no choice but to drown our disappointment in a pint of Guinness at one the many Belfast pubs.

A trip to Ireland is not complete without experiencing the Wild Atlantic coast.  The Giant’s Causeway, the Antrim coastline and the Cliffs of Moher are gorgeous, wild and amazing.  The beautiful coastline is dotted with castles, ruins and green pastures of grazing sheep.  Our personable and knowledgeable driver Joe drove us safely through Ireland and amused us with his antidotes, poems and local history.      

Along with the gorgeous natural beauty of Ireland are the wonderful cities that we visited.  We had a most interesting city tour of Derry/Londonderry.  Our charismatic guide Ronan gave some insight to the ancient and recent history of the city and Northern Ireland as we walked through the city.  The city wall and city hall are examples of the incredible architecture of this interesting city.  Galway is compact and easy to explore on foot with an opportunity to stop off at its shops, pubs and historic sites.  Westport is a coastal resort town that offers some water and land activities for the active and adventurous.  Our last stop was Dublin where we had the chance to easily explore the city using the hop on hop off pass.  Dublin’s ‘Fair City’ is a charming city with the old world atmosphere of many of its streets and squares, magnificent buildings and beautiful public parks. 

The last night evening we enjoyed a farewell Irish dinner and some traditional Irish music and dancing.  It was sad to be leaving a country with such lovely people, scrumptious food and drink, glorious scenery and interesting history.  

For more Photos click here

Monday, 26 January 2015

Spotlight On Mexico

We're starting the year in sunny Mexico, a place that's just right for your winter escape! This friendly country has a wealth of options for every type of traveler. Read about the highlights and visiting by cruise ship. Find 10 rejuvenating activities that will have you returning home renewed and refreshed. Learn about the Mayan world of the Yucatan Peninsula with insight from our On Location partner. Don't miss this month's delicious recipe and of course, check out the many enticing travel promotions for land, cruise and hotel. We're here to help so take a look and give us a call. We're ready to help plan your next adventure!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Spotlight on the South Pacific

We’re heading for the idyllic islands of the South Pacific for a peaceful vacation, close to nature. These tranquil islands offer an escape like no other and a range of eco-experiences you won’t want to miss! Discover the highlights of the South Pacific islands and learn why cruising is a good choice for an eco-focused vacation. Be sure to try this month’s tempting recipe and discover some great travel promotions. We are familiar with the islands of the South Pacific so give us a call. We’re here to help you plan the unforgettable South Pacific vacation you have been dreaming of!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Spotlight on The Eastern Mediterranean

The Eastern Mediterranean beckons with an array of wonderful travel options! Discover the highlights of visiting and cruising this exciting region and gain insider knowledge for visiting Turkey. Cultural Travel is our travel style, appropriate for the Eastern Mediterranean which offers a rich variety of cultural experiences. Read about ways to discover the culture of any destination you visit. Once again, the E-zine presents attractive travel promotions and cruise offers not to be missed. We’re here to help so get in touch with your questions and ideas. We’re happy to plan an enriching vacation that’s just right for you!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Insider's View of Italy

This month we’re off to Europe to discover enchanting and enriching travel experiences. Learn about the highlights of magical Monaco. Get the latest on travelling in Italy from our local insider who has many valuable tips to share. Consider cruising Italy with its many exciting ports; gateways to all Italy has to offer.  Culinary Travel is our Travel Style so you'll find valuable information on the European culinary scene in our article. There are many tempting options! This month's travel promotions and cruise offers are also enticing so take a look then get in touch so we can help you create your next fabulous vacation!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Exotic Asia

We're focusing on China, Indochina, Thailand and Myanmar this month as
we head for exotic Asia. In this month's articles you'll discover the
highlights and pick up tips on visiting these alluring countries. Gain special
insight on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in our local Insiders' View. Learn about
the advantages of river cruising and the wonderful options available in Asia.
We also cover big ship cruising, another great way to explore the region. There
are many attractions for travelers in these fascinating countries! Get in touch
with your questions and ideas. We're here to help plan your memorable vacation
in Asia!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Give the Gift of Travel

For the 18-35 year old in
your life, the world is their oyster. Invest in their future by giving them the
world of travel. A Contiki trip is a gift they'll reassure forever. Contiki's
been providing young travellers with new perspectives, lifelong memories,
self-discovery, and an education beyond books since '62. Our 50 years of
experiences means that you're sure to rest easy knowing your loved ones are
having the time of their life. Ensure every moment of their youth counts! After
all, they're only young once.
One Life. One Shot. Make it count.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Monthly Ezine - Western Med

We're off to the Western Mediterranean with its fascinating history, scenic coastlines and tempting cuisine. Read about the highlights and attractions for ideas on what to see and do.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Beaches & Water Sports - Spotlight on Meixco

This month we head for sparkling Mexico where the colorful culture enriches your beach vacation. Discover the highlights of this fascinating country and enjoy an insider's look at the Yucatan Peninsula. Discover options for seeing Mexico by cruise ship and read about the beaches and water sports the country is known for. Mexico has a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler! Take a look and get in touch. We're here to help plan the Mexican vacation that's just right for you!

Friday, 16 August 2013

August Ezine - Exotic Asia & Africa

This month we are off to the exotic and exciting continents of Asia and Africa. Read about traveling in these captivating destinations as well as cruising options from Cape Town to Beijing! Luxury travel is our featured Travel Style so we've included some suggestions for this wonderful way to vacation. Check out the many promotions and cruise offers throughout the E-zine for some excellent travel deals. We're here to work with you to create the best experience for your next vacation!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

To Hell and Back

7am and the 15 of us were on our way to Hells Gate National Park on our bikes. 5 miles from Fisherman’s Camp where we were staying – we finally all got to the park entrance where we were all dying, almost 3 weeks of no exercise to high altitude biking was a little extreme and this was only the beginning.
Hells Gate being the inspiration for Lion King, where scenes from Tomb Raider was filmed we were all pretty pumped. We rode into the park and it was absolutely stunning. Lush and green everything contrasted with the red rock of the towering cliffs on either side. The 15 of us rode down the winding sandy roads while being covered in dust. Riding along beside Zebras, Impala, Warthogs, Gazelle and Buffalo was a pretty cool experience. Our first stop at the bottom of a hill where Joseph our guide for the day – an ex-army guy, led us up to the top of the hill where we came across a cave where a leopard lives – bones scattered all around the opening of the cave was a dead giveaway. The views from the top were incredible and could see forever.
Back on the bike for about 15 minutes and I wiped out hard.. Full yard sale – scraped my elbow, knee and cut my hand. Covered in dust and back on our way we made it to the picnic area for lunch. We hiked from here through Hells Gate Gorge which was stunning. Hot springs coming from the towering cliffs on either side. Finally to the infamous pride rock a 15 minute hike up the side of the hill we were all encouraged not to look back until we were at the top. At the top it was totally worth the wait and everything that I expected, views for miles, green for as far as you can see with protruding red cliffs. Blasting the Circle of Life at the top completed the experience. I could have sat up there for hours just taking in the views.
We hopped back on our bikes to make our way back to the Fisherman’s Camp. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it back – 3 hours on the bike already and we had another 1 and a half to go. We finally got back to the camp and we all raced for the showers to rinse off the tans we thought we had. I thought I was getting a great tan but no it was just dust from the road.
A great day in Hells Gate and of physical exhaustion – we had our first North American meal since we’ve been here. Penne arrabata and a few Tuskers was a perfect end to the day.

(Blog written by Erin from her 6 weeks in East Africa)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

July Ezine - South America

This month it’s all about South America – from the high-altitude excitement of the Andes to the refined glamour of Buenos Aires and the depths of the Amazon basin, this continent truly has something for everyone. And with convenient flight options from North America, it’s way closer than you think. So, curl up in your chair and prepare to be inspired: this edition covers a steamy night of partying in Rio, a bar inside a monastery in Cuzco, Peru and a whole slew of incredible cruising ideas from the spectacular Chilean fjords to the diverse and fascinating Galapagos Islands. Enjoy!

Monday, 6 May 2013

May - Cruising the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean region holds infinite possibilities to those who visit. Learn about the many options for cruising in the Mediterranean, where you can visit fascinating places, experience the culinary delights of the region, and explore the ancient world. This month's theme focusses on culinary experiences and the Mediterranean and there's no better place to combine these two. You'll read about truffle hunting in Croatia, little known Istria, and the many culinary and cultural highlights of Turkey. Also, be sure not to miss this month's recipe, and our featured cruise ship. Take a quick look at some of the great offers in this month's issue and begin to plan your next Mediterranean adventure.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April - Southeast Asia & River Cruising

This month is all about Southeast Asia and River Cruising!! Rich cultural experiences, significant historical sites and friendly people make Southeast Asia an intriguing destination. Witness traditional ways of life alongside vibrant 21st century cities. This month's articles show you some of the highlights of the region and give you an Insider's view of Vietnam. Our theme is river cruising so you'll learn about opportunities to see Asia from its rivers as well as the many advantages of this mode of travel, the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry. Don't miss this month's recipe and our wonderful cruise promos as well as other great offers from our partners. Be sure to contact us with your questions and ideas. We're here to help with the planning of your next unforgettable vacation.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

March Ezine - UK & Ireland

This month's Ezine focuses on the UK & Ireland! The UK and Ireland - what a wonderful destination for family travel. A combination of ancient and modern sights means there is something to please everyone in these exciting countries. You will have plenty of educational and fun activities to experience together. The articles introduce you to the family travel options of the UK and Ireland with more multigenerational travel options in the Travel Style article. Discover adventures ashore in the cruising article and learn all about the best travel ideas for Ireland and Scotland from our Insider. Do not miss the recipe this month and our wonderful cruise promos as well as other great offers from our partners. Give us a call with your questions and ideas. We are here to help with the planning of your next family vacation. Check out some pictures on our website or our facebook page! If you would like to sign up to receive the Ezine once a month just visit our website at and add your email to the tab on the right hand side

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

February Ezine - Caribbean & Mexico

February's Ezine focuses on the Caribbean & Mexico! Do you have a case of the winter blues? Why not escape to the gorgeous beaches of the Caribbean or Mexico? While your friends and family dig their cars out of the snow why don't you soak up some Vitamin C on some of the best beaches in the world? Or if the beach isn't your thing why not take in some of the Caribbean culture! Check out some pictures on our website or our facebook page! If you would like to sign up to receive the ezine once a month just visit our website at and add your email to the tab on the right hand side!

Monday, 21 January 2013

January Ezine - East & Southern Africa

This month's Ezine focuses on East & Southern Africa and all it has to offer! If you would like to sign up to receive the ezine once a month just visit our website at and add your email to the tab on the right hand side! Africa has so much to offer - check out the ezine for some of the amazing things you can experience in East & South Africa!! Also check out our Facebook page at for pictures from one our of agents trip to South Africa! What a dream vacation!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

December Ezine - South Pacific

Every month Kemp Travel puts out an "Ezine" focusing on a different destination or travel style. This month focuses on the South Pacific and all it has to offer! If you would like to sign up to receive the ezine once a month just visit our website at and add your email to the tab on the right hand side! Let us know what you think of the South Pacific!!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Donna and Jo Ann’s trip to China

We began our trip to China with a direct Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing.  Our customized land package was arranged by Compass Holidays in Canada and carried out with precision by their dream team in China, our local guides.
 As we stepped out of the baggage claim area we were met by cheerful Sunny, the first of many of our local guides who would make our Beijing experience stress free and provide us with insight into the many historical sites in Beijing – Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace.  Everything is on a grand scale in Beijing but sometimes it is the small things that inspire you, like the seniors who gather in the park each morning to sing, dance and exercise.   We spent one day as Beijingers, taking the subway and then a pedi cab through the ancient housing development of the hutongs to have lunch in a local home.  Although we didn’t speak Cantonese and our host didn’t speak English with the help of our guide we learned about her life and realized the similarities of our lives to the life of her family.  No trip to the area would be complete without a visit to the Great Wall, and great it was.  We visited the Mutianyu area of the wall where we took a chair lift to the wall and after a relaxing hike on the wall came down on the toboggan run.  We had a clear day for viewing the spectacular scenery surrounding the ancient wall.
Wanting to experience something a little different we took the overnight train from Beijing to Xian, most famous for the site of the Terracotta Warriors.  We visited the Xian City wall and the Muslim Quarter for some serious shopping.  Shopping in China is a series of offers and counter offers as haggling for the best price is the way of the Chinese merchants in the markets.  Whether you get the best price or not, you will always get a good price as shopping is inexpensive and varied. 
Next stop was Guilin which is surrounding by the beautiful limestone hills or karsts.  We took a wonderful four hour boat trip on the Li River which offered a magnificent view of China’s most famous landscape.   Our destination on the river was Yangshou.  This small town offered great shopping and dining on West Street, the main street.  Our favorite day in China started with a two hour bike ride through the town and into the countryside where we witnessed the rural side of China with the rice paddies and small farms.  Surrounded by the mountains were small patches of farm land still manually farmed by local workers.  It was peaceful and you felt the serenity of the land after the days of being in some of China’s largest cities.  After having a local beer to quench our thirst and a scrumptious lunch we headed on our next adventure of the day, a two hour bamboo raft ride down the Yulong River.  Armed with the water cannons we bought for a few pennies we headed down the river for some relaxation and some fun with our fellow river rafters and the amusing raft drivers. 
On to another river; this time the mighty Yangtze River for our 5 star President Prime cruise through the three gorges, Qutang, Wu and Xiling with their breathtaking beauty.   You could opt for the inclusive tours, some optional tours or even a little relaxation with a Chinese massage.  Who could not help but be tempted into a massage in China – we couldn’t.  We did take the small ‘peapod’ boats down the Shennong Street to the hanging coffins found high on the cliffs.   At the end of the cruise we witnessed the grandeur of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest public works project in China since the Great Wall.
Last stop for us was Shanghai, a glorious mix of old and new.  The Bund, Shanghai’s famous historical waterfront  at night is a sight to behold.  Across the river are the modern towers built quite recently.  The nightlife in Shanghai is nonstop.  Dining and shopping are fantastic.  You can opt for upscale shopping on Nanjing Road or souvenir shopping at the Yu Yuan Market.  My favorite shopping area is Tianzifang in the French Concession, which houses small craft stores, coffee shops and trendy art studios in traditional Shikumen architecture.  If you tire of shopping you can visit the Urban Planning Museum or the Propaganda Museum located.  Don’t miss the Shanghai Acrobatic Show; it’s a must see.
China is an amazing destination.   Whether you are in one of the world’s largest cities, a rural farming community or visiting a remote river city each area have distinctive differences but one thing is always the same;  charming people, wonderful food, comfortable accommodations and sights and sounds that you will remember for the rest of your life.    
Contact Jo Ann from Wesley’s Travel in Whitby and Donna from Bowmanville Travel to plan your dream trip to China. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Vacation to Paradise

I recently returned from Paradise! I know people say that all the time but I have travelled extensively and I have to say the islands of Tahiti are truly the most beautiful I have ever seen.

After arrival from Toronto to Los Angeles I made an easy connection to Air Tahiti Nui to fly to Tahiti (Papeete).  The flying time from LA was 8hrs and the flight was fine. Upon arrival we were met with a handmade flower lei, which I quickly found out was a tradition upon arrival at all hotels. We were taken to the Intercontinental Papeete, which was only minutes from the airport. It was dark upon arrival so it wasn’t until the next morning that we realized how breathtaking this hotel and grounds truly were. The view across the water to Moorea was amazing. This hotel had all categories of rooms, lots of activities, a beach, infinity pool, wonderful food etc. everything you could ask for. The next night we stayed at the Radisson Papeete which was just as nice but with a black volcanic beach. Both of these properties are excellent hotels for 1 or 2 nights before you start island hopping.

The island of Tahiti is the largest as it is the youngest of the islands. There is only 1 road (126km) around the island, which is the same on all the others as well. The island has many different historical sights and the landscape and gardens are beautiful. The city of Papeete is a large city, but very clean and safe.

From Papeete we took a 45min ferry to Moorea. The ferry is very large, modern and very clean. Up on the top deck you can be outside and enjoy the sight of leaving Tahiti and the view of arriving in Moorea.

Moorea is an island that has many activities from dune buggy rentals, to ATV adventures, to scooters, or swim with sting rays, or whale watching (in season) to a fruit distillery, just to name a few. The island itself is lots of fun to explore by foot on hikes or by the only road that circles the island (56km). The water is magnificent as well since this island is known for its reefs and snorkeling.

We stayed at the Pearl Hotel, in an overwater bungalow. What a treat! The room itself was large and its décor was very Tahitian. The water surrounding the bungalow was so clear, teal blue and right on the edge of the reef so lots of fish to see. Inside the room there was a glass floor to view the sea life as well. This hotel was my favorite in Moorea. All the room categories were wonderful…the garden had a private pool and the beach bungalows where just that on the Beach. The grounds, and infinity pool were so inviting and the service and food were excellent.

We stayed at the Intercontinental in Moorea as well which was every bit as nice, but a little larger and the overwater bungalows only had their decks over the water. If you love marine life though, they are the only hotel that has the “Dolphin Experience”. This is and up close and personal educational experience with one of the 3 dolphins they have on property. Be sure to pre book as it books up fast. Also they have lots of areas for snorkeling and the actually have a Sea Turtle hospital where they care for the turtles and release them back into the ocean. Also right out front of this property is where you can go swim with the Rays. And in July-September you can see and actually take a tour to swim with the whales!

Our next stop was Bora Bora which meant a ferry back to Papeete and then a 45min. flight on Air Tahiti.  When you take this flight be sure to sit on the left side of the plane as the views are spectacular of the islands and the many colours of the water.

Bora Bora is only 26miles around again with 1 road. The island is the smallest of the 3 we visited. Many of the resorts are located on the motus which are small islands surrounding the main island. There are many overwater bungalows on Bora Bora because the water is so shallow.  To get around the island and the motus you must take the hotel water shuttles or the public shuttle for a fee.

We stayed at the Intercontinental Maroma which is a very small hotel and budget. The hotel itself is located on the side of the hill and not the easiest to walk to. They do have some overwater bungalows that are very nicely decorated but they are across the road from the main hotel along with the restaurant and the beach area. We did see families at this property, as it is small and more economical.

We also visited the St. Regis…..the highest star rated hotel on the island and it is all that and more. Very high end and amazing! The grounds, the rooms, the spa….everything was to perfection. This is where many famous stars stay i.e. Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman, Carrie Underwood & Mike Fisher etc. I can’t say enough about this property.

Next stop was the Intercontinental Bora Bora. Just as beautiful as all the rest, but a bit more traditional, very Tahitian. The setting was tropical with its infinity pool, waterfall, palm trees on the beach, bar and restaurant on the waterside. Our room was a beach bungalow, very large and traditionally elegant décor. The overwater bungalows were just as great and stretched out into the water in front of the beach. Once again we did not go hungry, the French pastries and breads along with everything else met our expectations.

Last stop the Pearl in Bora Bora, my favorite for this island. The grounds were so tropical, you felt like you were in your own paradise. Our room this time was a garden bungalow, which meant you walked into an enclosed backyard with a small pool, picnic area and gardens. The bungalow itself was large with Tahitian décor and a huge bathroom that led out to an outdoor shower. This hotel had an amazing spa set back in the jungle with amazing views. This hotel had more activities going on….mini golf, rent DVD’s, kayaks, canoes, bikes, pool tables, and a tree top bar area that actually had music playing. Of course this hotel had many beautiful overwater bungalows as well.

Some adventures we did while on Bora Bora were jet skiing around the island for the afternoon. This was a great way to see the island, and lots of fun at the same time. This took about 2 hours. We also did a tour which included snorkeling on a reef, swimming with many Rays and the topper was swimming with sharks! Yes they threw small fish around us and the sharks showed up….lots of screams and laughter, something I will always remember.

This brought our trip to an end. This meant travelling by air back to Papeete, then to Los Angeles and back to Toronto a total flying time of 14hours with a couple of stops on route.

This trip to the South Pacific and the islands of Tahiti was truly the most beautiful destination I have ever been to. It is quiet, romantic, and truly relaxing.  This is a perfect destination for couples of all ages. I look forward to helping my clients plan their vacation so they can experience what I did.

Check out our Facebook Page for more Photos from Tahiti

Lorie Partridge – South Pacific Specialist
Kemp Travel
905 668 7955

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Costa Rica

Sheila and Erin from our Bowmanville office just took a trip to Costa Rica, here’s what Erin had to say about her family trip.

We’ve just returned from our family trip to Costa Rica and it was GREAT! There’s plenty to do and see and we weren’t disappointed.

Infinity Pool on deck - Pacuare Lodge
We flew Air Canada into San Jose and the flight was great, on time and great onboard service. We arrived in San Jose and were taken to our hotel. We stayed at the Days Hotel, the food was great and the rooms were very nice. The town of San Jose is mainly an industrial city. There are many tours you can do from San Jose, canopy tours, rappelling, city tours to see basilicas, museums and theaters and much more.

Canopy Bed - Pacuare Lodge
We only stayed in San Jose for the night and then we were off to the Pacuare River to go river rafting. It was a 2 hour drive to the river. We stopped at a great local restaurant for breakfast up in the mountains which had a great view of the valley. When we arrived at the river we packed our luggage into dry bags and the guides strapped them down to the raft.
We hopped in a separate raft with our guide for the next three days. We rafted down class 1 and 2 rapids and stopped at a waterfall for a quick swim and continued on our way. We arrived at the Pacuare Lodge were we stayed for 3 days, 2 nights. The lodge was gorgeous, located right on the river was their restaurant and bar where you ate all your meals. Our room was located up in the mountain over looking the river. The
River Rafting - Pacuare River
room was amazing, claw footed bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers, canopy draped king size bed, loungers on the enormous deck complete with a large infinity pool over looking the jungle and the river but it was a hike up the mountain to get to the room but well worth it. The food at the Pacuare Lodge was great, actually amazing considering that there are no roads into the resort and all food has to come by water!!

Rappelling - Arenal Area
We were able to walk 5 minutes with our guide to a waterfall where we were able to swim in the natural pools below it. Another day we were walked to another small river where we were able to slide down the natural rock slides into different pools. There are several different tours you can do at the lodge (rappelling, zip lining and also massages) but just sitting on your deck taking in the sounds around you and the occasional swim in your private pool is an excellent way to spend your afternoon. We rafted again out of the lodge on the third day, on class 3 and 4 rapids. We stopped again at a great waterfall for a quick swim and some pictures in the falls. We also stopped along the river for lunch that day.

Bathroom - Tree House Lodge
We then went to Puerto Viejo, Limon to stay at the Tree House Lodge. This was a truly unique place; we stayed in the Beach Suite. It was an open air design with a large Flintstone like bathroom. The highlight of the washroom was the hot tub that filled up through the mouth of a sea horse, and the shower that was wrapped by a large snake and the water fell from its mouth. The Beach Suite has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, kitchen, living space, lower deck with hammocks and a large deck on the roof. The beach suite was a 2 minute walk from the Caribbean ocean and right on the beach. The beach out front was a natural beach, but just a short walk down the beach was a lovely beach great for swimming and the water was very warm. The town of Puerto Viejo was a little town right on the ocean. There are many small restaurants on the beach and little shops to look through. We stayed at the Tree House Lodge for two nights and then moved on to the next place.

Hot Springs - Tabacon Grand Spa & Resort
We then drove to Arenal to stay at the Tabacon Grand Spa and Resort. The drive was about 5 hours through the country side of Costa Rica. The Tabacon is a gorgeous resort and is most well known for its natural hot springs. The Spa and the hot springs are definitely the highlight of the resort. We were also able to see the Arenal Volcano from our room which was gorgeous. The best time to go in the hot springs in my opinion would be later in the evening as it is very hot during the day and getting into the hot water makes its seem even hotter. The restaurants were very nice and the food was delicious. We did a volcano hike from the Tabacon and it was great, but very HOT. The views are great and it’s a nice way to see some of the wildlife. We also did a canopy tour from Tabacon at Ecoglide.  They have 12 cables and a Tarzan swing, and the Tarzan swing was by far the highlight of the canopy tour. You stand on a platform and the guides hook you up to a rope and you jump and swing up into the tree tops it was great and such a rush, you have to try it if you have the chance. We also did a rappelling tour from Tabacon which was also a lot of fun. We rappelled down four waterfalls and two of them much higher than I imagined they would have been. Our stay at the Tabacon lived up to all our expectations and the hot springs exceeded all my expectations.

Sunset - Borinquen Resort
We then travelled to Rincon de la Vieja where we stayed at the Borinquen Mountain Resort. The grounds at this resort were gorgeous, up on the mountain at the base of an inactive volcano. They had pools, thermal pools, mud baths and a natural steam room. The accommodations again here were great, our own little houses up on the hill. The restaurant had great food and the service was excellent. We did a tubing and horseback riding tour from the Hacienda Gauchipelin. The drive from the Borinquen to the Hacienda was about an hour on a rough road but worth the time for the tour. We had a 45 minute horse back ride to the Rio Negro where we gathered our tubes and floated down the river and the rapids. The scenery was great and well worth it. We spent two nights at this resort and it was a blast.

Beach at the Four Seasons Guanacaste
We then traveled to the Pacific Coast to stay at the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. The drive was about an hour and a half to the resort. The Four Seasons was gorgeous and we got upgraded to a 3 bedroom bungalow when we got there!! They have two beaches and 3 pools, which you can see both beaches from the main pool. The restaurants are great and the food is fantastic!! The room we stayed in was gorgeous bigger than any other hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Three bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, indoor and outdoor kitchen, large living room, big Jacuzzi bathtubs and French balconies in every bedroom it was amazing! We were only there for one night and none of us wanted to leave. You could hear howler monkeys from our room at night and early in the morning. It was definitely a treat to stay here!

We flew out of Liberia on United, with a quick layover in Chicago and on to Toronto. The trip was great and I would love to go back. It was great place for the whole family, in fact for people of any age and anyone could enjoy this great country. Give us a call if you are interested in a trip to Costa Rica.
905-623-3182 or by e-mail at  or

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Grand Re-Opening Celebration

Grand Re-Opening Celebration - Open House – September 22nd
Drop by between 3-7pm to see our new location and ask one of our agents about our exciting new promotions.  Free parking is available.
221 King St E., Oshawa, 905 433 8611

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Destination Weddings

Need help planning a Destination Wedding?

Destination weddings take away much of the stress and expense of wedding planning. That is why they have become a popular wedding choice for brides and grooms looking for a wedding day filled with warmth and pampering. Leave it all to the wedding planners. What about a bachelor party ziplining through the rainforest, a bachelorette spa day, or a rehearsal party on a sunset catamaran tour? Now that relieves lots of wedding planning stress.

I recently went to the Mayan Riveria in Mexico to see for myself some destination wedding locations. I visited eleven hotels over the weekend and viewed some spectacular scenery that could serve as a beautiful backdrop to a picture perfect wedding day.

Whether the happy couple select a beach wedding, a gazebo setting or a more traditional chapel wedding the resorts do a wonderful job decorating and co-ordinating a seamless wedding celebration personalized for the bride and groom.

I was able to see a wedding ceremony at the Princess Grand Riveria Resort. The wedding ceremony took place on a secluded area of the beach in a two tier, beautifully decorated gazebo. The bride walked over the quaint wooden bridge through the lower gazebo where her forty plus guests sat to her waiting groom in the upper gazebo. After the ceremony the guests and wedding party enjoyed themselves with a cocktail and toast on the beach.

The Mayan Riveria has everything you need for a glorious sun soaked wedding and honeymoon. Amazing white sand beach and shimmering turquoise waters await you on the Caribbean coastline. You can snorkel in the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-hu, explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza, or shop in the chic boutiques of Playa del Carmen. There are luxurious upscale resorts, family friendly resorts, and adult only resorts. The Mayan Riveria has something to offer all wedding guests, young and old. The bride and groom can relax knowing that their family and friends will be well taken care of; leaving the newly married to enjoy the start of their life together.

Please contact me for your upcoming destination wedding. I would love to help you plan your special day in an exotic location.

JoAnn 905 433 8611

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Lorie from our Whitby office recently went to Australia, here's what she had to say.

Well I have just returned from a wonderful to downunder to Australia. This is a place I have always wanted to visit and was not disappointed.

I flew with Qantas airways and they were wonderful. Always on time and the service on board was excellent. It was like flying back when the passenger really mattered.

It is a long flight but well worth the time. If it is possible upgrade to at least a exit row, Elite or Business class as the leg room is worth it.

I flew into Cairns via Los Angeles and Brisbane. We spent a couple days in the Cairns area. The weather was great. This area "Queensland" is the tropics for Australia and even though it was winter the temp were in the 20's C and no humidity. We stayed at a lovely hotel on the water the Shangri la. There are no beaches in Cairns but a great boardwalk along the water.

Cairns is a great little city with lots of shopping, restaurants, casino, and access to the Great Barrier Reef via cruises. This area is very popular with Backpackers as well as people of all ages.

We took a wonderful train ride from Freshwater (outside of Cairns) to Kuranda on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. This followed the route that was built in the 1800's for the gold rush up into the Rainforest. It traveled through 15 tunnels, ascending 327 metres and going over 55 bridges and taking 98 turns. The scenery was breathtaking. We upgraded to Gold Class which meant the seats were plush and we were served wine and hors d'oeuvre's,  well worth cost of the upgrade.

At the end of the train ride we arrived at Kurunda station, where we walked thru the village of Kuranda. Here you can visit Birdworld or the Butterfly Sanctuary or Koala Gardens (all for an additional admission), as well as shop with many handcrafted goods. I chose to visit the Koala Gardens since this is the only place in Australia where you can actually hold a Koala. I was able to hold Princess the Koala and have may pic taken with her which was a real treat. These Gardens also house an area were you can feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies. This was something I will always remember.

To descend down from Kuranda to outside of Cairns we took the Skyrail Rainforest Cable Car. This flew high above the rainforest. You looked down into the forest and out over the area which you could see for miles. The sight was indescribable. We stopped twice on the way down to take a guided nature walk and get up close and personal with the forest. It was amazing.

That evening we stayed at the Thala Beach Resort which was near Port Douglas but was situated in the Rainforest overlooking the Coral Sea. The rooms were all throughout the forest so quite a lot of walking but well worth it for the sights alone. The setting was gorgeous and each room was in an individual bungalow with a spectacular view of the forest or the sea. The main lodge was all open air and had a veranda that wrapped around the entire thing. The food was fantastic as well as the service. This resort was very eco friendly and organized many nature walks, star gazing, etc. It also had is own beach area on the Coral Sea.

The next 3 days we spent on the Coral Princess II with Capt. John's Cruises. I would not compare this to a cruise that we are use to instead it was an experience on water. It was a wonderful way to see the Great Barrier Reef and really experience it first hand. The ship only holds 50 passengers. The cabins are only 8 x 10 but you are never in then but to sleep. There are 2 common rooms on board as well as a dining room and an outside area to lounge or enjoy the hot tub. There is an open door policy on board for the capt.s bridge. For the next 3 days we saw sunrises, snorkeled, took rides in the glass bottom boat, fed the fish, saw up close creatures from the bottom of the sea and learned all about them from the marine biologist on board. and if you were lucky enough even took a scuba dive (which I was) The scenery under the water was thought you were in an aquarium or a moving. It was a colourful garden under the sea. We would stop each day on land and take a nature walk. Our last day we went to the ship's private island where the capt bbq'd lunch for us. Overall a great Reef experience.

We then spent 2 days in Sydney. This is a beautiful city where old history is nestled amongst modern day city. We stayed at the Sheraton on the Park right downtown and across from Hyde Park which houses a gorgeous Botanical Gardens and many historical buildings. It is a 15min walk to the Harbour where you can catch a ride on the ferry to Manly Beach or Bondi Beach were you can see surfing and visit a great little tourist area for shopping. The ride to and from this area is a great way to see Sydney from the water. You get a great view of the famous Opera House and bridge. The city offers lots of waterfront restaurants and many English pubs. It was the cleanest city I have every seen. There are lots of museums and places to visit in Sydney that no one would be lost for things to do.

This is just a bit of what I experienced downunder, as I could go on and on. Australia is truly a place to visit.

Please call me at 905 668 7955 to discuss a trip to Australia!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Rocky Mountaineer

June 2010

Sheila & Kirk Kemp

We have just returned from a fabulous trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Train. We took the train route from Vancouver to Kamloops and then on to Jasper and then by coach down to Lake Louise and Banff. This was my first experience on the Rocky Mountaineer and it definetly won’t be my last. What a way to travel.

We fly to Vancouver and stayed at the Sheraton Wall hotel, many of the rooms offer spectacular views of the waterfront. We were picked up quite early and taken to the train station and from the moment you walk into the train station you are surround by nostalgic pictures of rail travel gone by. Complimentary coffee is plentiful and the station is bright and cheerful. There is no shortage of train staff to direct you or answer any of your questions regarding your trip. We were fortunate to be travelling in the GoldLeaf cars which are true luxury. From the moment your steward greats you and shows you to your assigned seating in the dome car you are made to feel extremely welcome. While pulling out you are offered coffee, tea and muffins while you await your breakfast turn in the dining car. Who knew such flavourful, well prepared gourmet meals could come out of such a small kitchen space. Breakfast and lunch each day were 5 star calibre. There was always a choice for your meals and they were always surprisingly delicious and lunch was served with wine! The rail experience in the dome car is like none I have ever experienced before. You have fabulous views of the spectacular scenery in the very comfortable roomy seats while sipping on your favourite beverage (bar opens at 10:30)....who knew rail travel could be sooooo civilized!!

The scenery in Canada is hard to beat and it is a real shame that more Canadians do not experience it. From the beautiful green forests to the majestic mountains and turquoise lakes; you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot in the world. Our travels took us in to Kamloops where we spent the evening at the Thompson Hotel before continuing on our journey the next day. We had another day of spectacular scenery and the one of the great things about the dome car is that there is an outside viewing platform that you can stand on to get the smells and sounds of nature. We ended up in Jasper and stayed overnight at the famous Jasper Park Lodge which really lives up to expectations. I would highly recommend staying at least two nights here so you can really enjoy the pristine beauty of its setting. Another perk was the elk, who were quite content to forage on the lawns surrounding the lodge so picture taking was extremely easy. We took a motor coach the next day down the Columbia Fields parkway making a stop at the Columbia Ice fields which is one of the few glaciers that the “masses “are able to go out and walk on (bring your woollies as there is quite the temperature drop here). This highway has to have the most magnificent scenery in the world, every corner you are gasping at the wonders before you, from the snow capped mountains, turquoise lakes, waterfalls, overflowing rivers, bears, mountain goats, big horn sheep, name it and the bus driver is always happy to pull over for snapshots (I took over 1500 pictures). We went from one natural wonder to another...too many to describe without writing a book. Lake Louise is of course stunning and the resort is beautiful, majestic ...outstanding! Then on to Banff where we stayed at the Rimrock hotel which has spectacular views of the valley. The rooms here are spacious, well appointed and the food is fabulous. The lobby bar boasts a view that is hard to beat...what could be better than having a glass of wine in the sun looking out at the mountains which surround you! Dinner was at the famous Banff Springs Hotel. A visit here is a definite must while in Banff. The hotel is a true Fairmont flagship hotel...stunning with the rock and wood and beautiful stately public rooms...what a spectacular backdrop for a wedding! Our time was too short but the trip was extremely relaxing and enjoyable. For those interested in going on the Rocky Mountaineer I would definitely recommend GolfLeaf over RedLeaf service not only because of the dome car and the outdoor platform but because the dining experience onboard is lovely as you walk to your dining car (with white tablecloths) and pick your meals from a menu accompanied by beverages (RedLeaf you are served at your seat – similar to airline meals of the old days). All beverages in the GoldLeaf are included (alcoholic as well) and your nightly accommodation is upgraded. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys spectacular scenery, good food and a relaxing atmosphere. Call me if you would like to discuss a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.

905-623-3182 or email:

Monday, 7 June 2010

We've Moved!

Kemp Travel has moved to a fabulous new location - 221 King St.E., Oshawa, L1H 1C5. Phone numbers are the same.  Please drop by for a visit, free parking is available!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bahia Principe Ambar

Client Comments on Bahia Principe Ambar, an adults only property in Punta Cana.

Resort. Massive compared to what we have been to in the past. Ambar is busy compared to what we are used to at other resorts but the rest of resort sometimes gets a bit overwhelming.

Grounds. Very well cared for with no litter at all. Overall very clean.

Pools, Amber not too busy and very clean. Main pool at main resort packed. Other pools in main resort back from the beach less so.

Food. Excellent, ate at al a carte every night no restaurant was even close to busy in Ambar section.

Drinks. No problem getting served at any time day or night.

Staff. Very friendly, nice people.

Room. Well cleaned with everything in working order. Quick response to any defects. Good size.

Airport Transportation. To and from airport no problem.

Site Transportation. The resort has three streets with people carriers running till 3 am.

Beach. Great for walkers. Ambar section is much better than the rest of resort as the Ambar resort is built back from the beach. There is a good section of beach area that has many loungers and shade between the regular public beach and the Ambar pool. Other than Ambar the main resort beach is an absolute mad house of people.

Tipping. I did not need to tip but tipped the bar tenders a few times a day.

Entertainment. Ambar is mostly low key with one person with electric piano. The entertainment at the rest of the resort is reasonably good but busy at the 9pm show and less so later.

Adults Only. They do a good job, there are lots of kids around but most families follow the rules and stay out of Ambar. We went to a few restaurants for dinner and the families we encountered were fine.

Weather. Mixed, hot and sunny then warm and cloudy. Little bit of rain but nothing serious.

Overall. Good holiday that was, at the price we paid, definitely good value.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Danube River Cruise

Jo Ann from the Oshawa office recently travelled to Europe, here's what she had to say:

What did I do on my summer vacation?

An Avalon Waterways Danube River Cruise

Our trip started out in Budapest as we explored the cobblestone streets of Castle Hill and enjoyed
the Pest's Danube promenade. Our two night stay was too short to experience all that Budapest
has to offer but we eagerly awaited the day that the Avalon Tapestry took us up the Danube
to Austria and Germany. Donna, from the Bowmanville Travel office, and our spouses were lucky
enough to enjoy this Globus Holidays/Avalon Waterways European experience together.

We boarded the Tapestry on August 2nd for our 7 night Danube cruise. Our cabin was
spacious and the views from our french balcony wonderful although we didn't spend much
time in the cabin as the top deck was sunny and the company of our travelling companions
inviting. We were 87 strong: from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US. It was an
intimate atmosphere that allowed us to come to know our fellow passengers well. The meals
compared to any large ship dining experience but with the addition of local specialities
and complimentary regional wines and beers. The atmosphere was casual and because the
group was so small it gave us a chance to get together to share our experiences of the day.

Each stop included a complimentary city tour with the option of additional, more specialized
day trips like a concert in Vienna, an Austrian alp tour, or Nuremberg trials tour. Our cruise
director Barbara was informative and entertaining and gave us insight to life in Hungary and
Eastern Europe in communist and recent times. Our stops included major cities and
smaller, more historical or scenic towns. They were all wonderful and in most cases because
the ports were in the city or town centre you could wander on and off the ship for as little
or as long as you liked. On the Tapestry you unpacked for the week but travelled to many
sights along the Danube so were able to enjoy your surroundings in a relaxed and
unhurried way. The scenery along the river was peaceful and beautiful so whether
you were on or off the ship it was always a great experience and almost everything
was included so the value was exceptional. Great views, great meals, great ports, great
holiday. Can't wait for my next river cruise, hopefully China's Yangtze River!

We said goodbye to the Tapestry; it's wonderful staff, magnificent meals and breathtaking views
and took the motorcoach for our 3 nights stay in Prague. Budapest and Prague; both great cities
to start and end our tour in Europe. You can't visit Prague without trying some of the local and
tasty beers. It is a wonderful walking city and very easy to get around. We mastered the
streetcar and subway system when our feet couldn't take anymore walking although the city
offers many sites around each corner when you walk the cobblestone streets. Old Town
Square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the mighty Vitava River are part of the wonders of Prague.
We ventured out of Prague for a few days to explore the countryside and enjoyed the scenery
and hospitality of the people of Czech Republic. Our one week stay in the Czech Republic
was one of the highlights of this glorious European Holiday.

What did I do on my summer vacation? I had the European vacation of a lifetime!
Email me at to book your European River Cruise!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Around the World in 1 Day

Join us for our 1st Annual Travel Trade Show on 26 Sep 2009 from 10am to 4pm at UOIT/Durham College - Campus Recreation & Wellness Centre (2000 Simcoe St.N.)

Talk directly to the Suppliers to plan your next Vacation!!

Travel talks, door prizes & discounts for those attending(free admission)

Win 2 FREE tickets on Westjet anywhere in Canada

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria

Client Comments on the new Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria:

The Resort:

As it is still new, there are a lot of growing pains still and of course this was to be expected. The hotel itself is quite beautiful, and the rooms are quite spacious and don't have that musty room smell like you find on most island vacation get always. We did not get a king bed as requested, but we just ended up putting out beds together and it worked out fine. As I read prior to our trip in the reviews, they do have some serious problems with the showers...there is plenty of hot water and the pressure it quite nice, however the design of the tub is just bizarre and as soon as you turn on the tap, it leaks all around the sides and pours all over the floor and often went out into the hallway and into our closets! You could see in our bathroom where the tub above us must have had the same problem as the walls were all patched and looked pretty rough. Other then that, the room was pretty nice. The one thing that we found a bit difficult is that there was not a whole lot of direction upon arriving, and there are not a lot of signs indicating various restaurants and the entrance to the beach. It was quite confusing and wasn't until the fourth day that we finally figured out how to get to and from our room to the buffet without getting lost. I'm sure that more signs will be put over time, and so that did not affect our feelings on the hotel itself. It was a great place and will be BEAUTIFUL and HUGE when it has all been completed.

The Pool:

The pool looked beautiful, and was always very clean. They were out everymorning cleaning the pool, and there was not any garbage or anything around the pool area. The one thing that could be improved on is that there are no spots with shade to recover from the sun, therefore we did not spend much time at all at the pool for this reason...where as at the beach there were tons of the cabana umbrella's for you to sit and relax out of the sun. The pool could use a few of those, as there was about 5 chairs in the shade and they were always taken. The good thing was that you never had to fight for a chair as there were always more then enough to go around. I think most people spent their time at the beach, and why not with a beach that beautiful!

The Beach:

Stunning! It was really beautiful. Due to the location, it can be quite windy on days, and during those times it makes it difficult to enjoy, but for the most part, the breeze was always welcomed and we would have probably melted without it. The water was crystal clear and always beautiful for as far out as you could see. We didn't see any sea creatures until after one of the really windy days and a whole bunch of jellyfish washed up on shore...other then that, we didn't see too much. The one complaint I would have about the beach is that there is really only one main entrance to the beach from the hotel and if you didn't wake up at the crack of dawn to put a towel on a chair, you would end up sitting 15 - 20 minute walk down the beach. This made it difficult for several reasons: getting a drink or water, bathroom, and eating. We would end up spending all day everyday at the beach because it would take us so long to get all the way down there that we didn't want to do the walk all over again.

The Food:

A lot to be desired! I'm not really a meat eater, and tend to be on the picky side, so I found it extremely difficult for the whole week. I feel as though I hardly ate the whole time. Typically I'm a huge fruiter eater, however they didn't have any fruit that was ripe and most of their food was tasteless and cold. I went to Cuba expecting this however, so it didn't put me off too much to be honest.

The Entertainment:

The Entertainment staff was absolutely amazing! The dances and shows at night were incredible! They always put on some sort of crazy show and it was always very interesting to see. They also had some things going on during the day by the pool side, but that part was lacking a bit. Otherwise, the entertainment staff was fantastic!!!

The Servers/Maids:

The Maids were great...we didn't have any complaints at all there. Most of the wait staff were quite friendly as well....they were always on top of things and always serving...of course you can come across the more lazy one's, who will completely ignore you if you don't tip enough to their liking...but that is to be expected and you can find that pretty much anywhere. The one thing I would say is to bring tons of tip money because that is all that you do day and night!!!

All in all we had an amazing trip and we both really needed the rest and relaxation. I'm happy that we went and it was a great time.