Travel Review  

Amazing Azores of Portugal

Officially known as the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the area is one of two autonomous regions of Portugal, composed of nine volcanic islands which are situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farms (for cheese and butter products primarily), livestock ranching, industrial fishing, and tourism; which his becoming the major driving force in the increase of activity in their economy. So what's so amazing about the Azores that has tourists captivated?
There are lots of islands to discover and explore. There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which rise high above the surface of the Atlantic. A perfect set of islands for the enthusiastic hiker and outdoor enthusiast to explore.

For the culturalistic aspect of the islands, because these once, uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries, the culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions vary considerably. For those who are looking for an educational experience out of their travels, this makes the Azores the perfect destination. Azoreans have developed their own distinct identity and cultural traits from a combination of continental Portuguese customs brought by various waves of immigration and local political and environmental factors. Religious festivals, patron saints and traditional holidays litter the Azorean calendar. These are all open to visitors and locals encourage and invite 'out-of-towners' to attend.

For more information or to plan your visit, see your travel agent or check this link : http://www.azores.com/ 


Shop 'til you drop!


Each year I promote a local bus tour that takes shoppers south of the border to hunt for bargains and clear up that holiday shopping list. If you're interested in a 'different' shopping experience - or just a girls weekend away - this may be the ideal trip for you! Seats sell quickly and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Have a look and if your interested in confirming your seat, drop me an email [email protected] or give me a call 1-877-493-2001 ext. 104.


31st October – 02 November, 2014     

Open to all ages!  Minors must be accompanied by someone 21+ years old.

** Times are approximate and depend on Holiday Traffic, weather and other factors beyond our control, that is why we ask that you be as prompt as possible with meeting times so we can maximize our shopping time! **


October 31st:

Penticton Shoppers

6:30 AM – Meet at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre in front of London Drugs.

6:45 AM – Shuttle departs Penticton and will meet up with shoppers in Westbank at the Zellers parking lot.


Winfield Shoppers

6:45 AM – Meet arrive at Marketplace IGA Parking lot in Winfield.

7:00 AM – Bus departs Winfield and heads to Kelowna


Kelowna Shoppers

7:15 AM – Meet at Capri Parking lot in front of Capri Insurance

7:30 AM – Bus departs Kelowna and heads to Westbank



7:30 AM – Meet at Zellers Parking Lot (Westbank)

7:45 AM – Bus Departs Westbank with all passengers

  • Once we are all onboard Tim Horton’s Coffee will be served. Feel free to bring your own water and snacks  - just remember all fruits and veggies must be consumed or thrown away before we get to the border crossing!

9:15 AM – Arrive at the Info Booth in Merritt for 15min. bathroom break

11:30 AM – Arrive at Whatcom Rd Exit.

  • Please grab a quick lunch TO GO and then jump back on the bus and we will then head to the border line up. Lunch available at - Booster Juice, McDonald’s, Burger King, Tim Hortons, Subway and Sushi Bar!

11:50 AM – Depart Whatcom Rd Exit and head to Sumas Border Crossing.

Approx 4:00 PM – Arrive at Doubletree Guest Suites South Centre and check in

Rest of the afternoon/evening is at your leisure! There is a lot of shopping to be done right around the hotel – the South Centre Mall is across the street. Target is located right behind the hotel. There is a Ross, Kohls, Best Buy, Old Navy, Nordstrom, World Market and Macy’s just a short cab ride away.


November 1st:  Make sure you start your day with your included breakfast buffet!


Hit the sidewalk for more shopping  – the Mall is open at 10 AM and Target opens at 8 AM! Check out is at 11 AM, but the hotel will hold your luggage until we are ready to depart at 1 PM!


8:30 AM – Bus will depart out front of the hotel and head downtown. Get dropped at the world famous Pike Place market and explore downtown Seattle. Shop in the market, visit the first ever Starbuck’s Coffee shop or explore the deep dark secrets of the original Seattle with the Underground Tour. A leisurely, guided walking tour beneath Seattle’s sidewalks and streets. As you roam the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle, their guides will regale you with the stories Seattle’s pioneers didn’t want you to hear. Be prepared for the underground landscape to be moderately rugged. You’ll encounter six flights of stairs, uneven terrain and spotty lighting. So dress for the weather and leave the heels behind. Tour runs from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM and is $17US payable locally upon arrival.


12:45 PM - Bus departs Pike Place Market and returns to hotel.

1:00 PM – Return to hotel and grab your luggage from the front desk – get ready to leave!

1:15 PM – Bus departs the Double Tree for the Tulalip Casino

 2:15 PM – Bus arrives at the Tulalip Casino Resort – Check in

  • Rest of the afternoon/evening is at your leisure! The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the shopping locations. Check shuttle times with the front desk.
  • Tulalip Premium Outlets are RIGHT THERE and Open until 9 PM! 110 Stores - Adidas, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Coach, DKNY, Guess, J.Crew, Joe's Jeans, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware, Tommy Hilfiger and many more!
  • Also in the area is a 24 hour Walmart and a Cabela’s Outdoorsman Store
  • Once the Mall is closed have fun in the hotel pool area or the casino – try your hand and maybe you will luck out and pay for all your purchases over the weekend!


November 2nd:

Make sure you start your day with your included breakfast buffet ! Eagles Buffet opens at 9 AM.

10:00 AM – Check out of the hotel, pay any room charges accrued, and get ready to head out!

10:30 AM – Bus Departs Hotel

11:00 AM – Arrive at the Burlington Costco

  • We will spend 3 hrs here at the strip mall which includes Ross, Kohl’s, Costco and even more outlets! Shoppes include Lululemon, Gap, Eddie Bauer, OshKosh, Reebok and others.
  • Grab something for lunch, when we depart we are headed straight for the border.

2:00 PM – Bus Departs from the Costco parking lot


  • We will stop at the Sumas Duty Free for those last minute deals on alcohol and perfume

5:00 PM – Back on the bus and headed across the border.

Approx 5:30 PM – 15 min. stop to grab TAKE OUT and stretch our legs at the Whatcom road exit

Approx 8:45 PM – Drop off shoppers in Westbank (Zellers parking lot)

** A shuttle will be waiting to take Penticton passengers back to the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre parking lot. Arrival in Penticton expected at 9:15 PM. **

Approx 8:45 PM – Drop off shoppers in Kelowna (Capri Hotel)

Approx 9:15 PM – Drop off shoppers in Winfield (North Parking lot at Marketplace IGA)


** Proof of medical insurance coverage mandatory. If you do not have adequate medical coverage for travel into the USA, we are happy to provide a quote for you. Valid Passports required. **

** Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the bus for passengers of legal age. Please drink responsibly.**


Rates : Canadian Dollars including all taxes and fees

** Space is sold on a “First-Come, First-Served” basis. Seats are not guaranteed until payment received. Front row bus seating is reserved for passengers who experience motion sickness and your tour conductors. Payment in full is due at time of booking. Once paid, fees are 100% non-refundable. Name changes are allowed up to 31 Aug 2014 for a $25- fee. From 01 Sept 2014 onwards no name changes are allowed. Trip cancellation insurance is recommended. **

Double Occupancy $299 $309
Triple Occupancy $349 $359
Single Occupancy $399 $409


Per person in Canadian dollars, taxes included. Includes Bus transportation, Hotel accommodations, 2 buffet breakfasts, tour guide, bus driver, $20- voucher for play at the Tulalip Resort & Casino and baggage handling/ porterage at the Tulalip Resort & Casino.


Confirm Your Seat by Contacting Laura-Beth at Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Phone : 1-877-493-2001 ext 104                   E-mail : [email protected]

Haida Gwaii

Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands - Haida Gwaii is 300 km long, in a rough triangular shape from 100 km wide across the top, tapering to a point at Cape St. James at the south end. Tucked under the coastline of islands that form the Alaska panhandle they are 75 km from the American border, approximately 120 km west of the outer islands of the northern BC coastline and 770 km by air from Vancouver, BC.

The climate of the Queen Charlottes is very mild. The annual temperature is a balmy 8°C (46°F). The summer temperatures are similar to those in Northern and Central BC. It is the winter temperatures, which are moderated by the Japanese current that are much higher than winter temperatures of inland BC and the rest of Canada. This makes these waters the perfect spot for both land animals and sea creatures.

Queen Charlotte Islands is a collection of about 150 islands resting on the western edge of the continental shelf. There are two main islands, Graham Island to the north and Moresby Island to the south. About 5,000 people share these islands, most residing on Graham Island in the communities of Queen Charlotte City, Tlell, Port Clements, Masset and the two Haida communities of Skidegate and Old Masset. Sandspit is located on the northeastern tip of Moresby Island. A 20 minute ferry ride and 130 kilometers of pavement connect the two islands and their communities.

The southern part of Moresby Island is Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve/Haida Heritage Site. The area, unique because of its spectacular west coast scenery, rich ecology and Haida culture is cooperatively managed by Parks Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation - the Archipelago Management Board, plans, operates and shares the management of Gwaii Haanas. Experience wilderness, solitude, adventure, discovery and Haida culture. Wildlife encounters may include whales, bald eagles, colourful ocean life, or some of the one million seabirds nesting along the shores, as well as black bears, river otters and sea lions.

These islands have been home to the Haida for thousands of years. A recent archaeological inventory of the area has documented more than 500 Haida archaeological and historical sites. The village of SGang Gwaay, located at the southern end of Gwaii Haanas is considered to have the world's finest display of Haida mortuary poles, all over one hundred years old. In consultation with the Haida, UNESCO declared Nan Sdins Illnagaay (Ninstints) a World Heritage Site in 1981. Gwaii Haanas is considered a wilderness park and is accessible by air or water and reservations and participation in an orientation are required if traveling independently.

Naikoon Provincial Park is situated on the northeast part of Graham Island and covers an area of 72,640 hectare of Haida Gwaii. It is a park of diverse environments - sandy beaches, sand dunes, old-growth forests, rivers, and oceans. Sitka spruce and hemlock flourish in well drained areas. The vegetation on the beaches is similar along the whole coastline of the park. The main attraction of Naikoon Provincial Park is its seemingly endless kilometres of broad sand beaches. Towl Hill, a 100 metre outcrop of basalt columns stands out as a prominent landmark on the north beach and Rose Spit, an ecological reserve that offers great opportunities to observe migrating birds traveling south on the Pacific flyway. Add to this the rich heritage and mystic of the Haida culture and the more recent settler history and you have a truly unique experience. Naikoon has two vehicle access campgrounds and endless opportunities for wilderness walk-in camping.

Misty Meadows campground is located at the south end of the park just behind the sand dunes in the community of Tlell and provides a great central base for fishing the Tlell River, boating on Mayer Lake, hiking East Beach, and exploring the rest of the islands. Agate Beach campground, located 26 km east of Masset offers beachfront campsites and easy access to Tow Hill, North Beach, and the Cape Fife Trailhead. Both campgrounds offer picnic shelters to dry out on rainy days, pit toilets, water, and firewood. Open year round there is a fee collected from mid May through September.

Reservations are not available for either campground. Wilderness camping is permitted throughout the park, with three rustic shelters located along East Beach at the mouths of the Cape Ball and Oceanda Rivers, and at Fife Point. Naikoon is considered a wilderness park without supplies of any kind. For more information on Naikoon park and hiking the East beach, please visit BC Parks.

Most famous though is the Queen Charlotte's for its amazing fishing for all levels of fisherman. Not only can you arrange all types of fishing tours and excursions, but through your local travel agent you can make arrangements for kayaking, air and land tours, sail boating, power boating tours, diving excursions and much more!

Air Canada offers regular daily flights from Vancouver International Airport to Sandspit.

North Pacific Seaplanes has daily float plane service between Prince Rupert and Masset and service three times a week between Prince Rupert and Sandspit/Queen Charlotte City.

Pacific Coastal Airlines also provides daily service from Vancouver's South Terminal to Masset during the summer and service three times a week during the shoulder and winter season.

If flying is not for you then how about an adventure on BC Ferries. The Queen Charlotte Islands are accessed by a six hour ferry trip from the port city of Prince Rupert on the mainland coast of British Columbia three times a week. Reservations are highly recommended and the earlier the better.
For more information on this Canadian Coastal Treasure of Islands, have a chat with your Travel Agent or visit this website: http://queencharlottevisitorcentre.com/ 


Newfoundland & Labrador

Perhaps most famous for its language and food, Newfoundland & Labrador is an adventure of its own waiting to be discovered by the inquisitive traveller. Boasting of impressive landscapes, Viking ruins and landing sites of the early explorers John Cabot and Leif Erickson, this land also offers a wide array of sea and land wildlife as well as amazing ocean views and iceberg watching.
  With enough coastline to stretch back and forth across Canada four times over, there's no shortage of places to explore on this island known to locals as "The Rock". Have a stroll along many trails, some along ancient footpaths, through inlets, coves and bays. You'll find plenty of salt box houses, icebergs, whales and seabirds. And likely chances are you'll encounter a moose or two. A spin up the Cape Shore is like an escape to the Emerald Isle, or travel down to Port au Port for a taste of France.

Newfoundlanders are a warm and welcoming people with a vibrant spirit and more colourful sayings and expressions than you could 'shake a stick at'. Known to be the friendliest people on earth, they are undeniably full of quick wit, hospitality, and charm. They have more dialects of English than anywhere else in the world, with their very own encyclopedia and dictionary. The Island language stems from Newfoundland's English, Irish, French, and Aboriginal influences which have done and still do much to colour the cultural landscape. And even the supposedly dead language of Gaelic can still be found if you know where to listen. The multitude of dialects found here has been steadfastly preserved, even if it varies up and down the very same stretch of coast.

With ingredients from their oceans, lakes, rivers, game, plants and gardens they have some of the most unique recipes on earth. Lobster, cod, caribou, salmon and moose. Recipes handed down from generation to generation have created Newfoundland and Labrador's cuisine. Taste recipes you’ve never heard of with names you’ll never forget: Colcannon, Doughboys, Pea soup, Salt Fish and Brewis, Toutons, and Cod Tongues to name a few. Try a Jigg’s Dinner, a staple of traditional Newfoundland ‘scoff’. For dessert try Figgy Duff, a delicious 16th-century pudding that’s a favourite! And how about Salmon Ravioli, Braised Rabbit Pie, Caribou Bourguignon and Bakeapple Cheesecake?

Newfoundland and Labrador is the best place in the world to view icebergs. They can even be viewed from shore on a warm summer’s day. Thousands of these icebergs break off from glaciers along the Greenland coast and are carried south along the Labrador Current before lingering along shorelines. Most are seen in the late spring and early summer which is the best time to go viewing. And as for the wildlife, the bears roam free, as do the moose and the caribou, by the hundreds of thousands. There are 22 species of whales alone, including the world’s largest migrating population of humpbacks. The 35 million seabirds that fill the air above the cliffs can be easily viewed by birders of any experience level. View kittiwakes and gannets, bald eagles, storm petrels and the infamous Puffins.

For more information on visiting this spectacular Canadian island, have a chat with your local travel agent.

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About the Author

Laura has been a successful Certified Travel Counsellor since February 1999. She has worked in both Corporate and Vacation travel departments and has extensive experience as an avid traveller. She currently works as a Senior Consultant at one of the Okanagan's most popular agencies.

To reach her for inquiries you can email: [email protected]


"If you look like your passport photo - you probably need the vacation!"

Your Travel Agent

Laura-Beth Konschuh-Penney

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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