Out Of This World Hospitality
Perched 1,600 feet above the town of Osoyoos, British Columbia on the colourfully named Anarchist Mountain, the Observatory B&B offers heavenly views in more ways than one. From each guest room and the home’s dining room, there are breathtaking views of the valley, lake and town below. But the vistas get even better when darkness falls, as host and renowned amateur astronomer Jack Newton and his wife Alice give guests an introductory tour of the night skies through a 16-inch computer-controlled telescope housed in a rooftop observatory. Using special filters, Newton even shows guests a close-up look at the morning sun. There are three astronomically themed accommodation choices, with the Moon Room and the Saturn Suite sleeping two people each, while the Eclipse Suite sleeps four. Osoyoos is earning a reputation as the ‘Napa of the North’ for its excellent wine touring opportunities, and there are all kinds of outdoor recreational activities available. The town is set in Canada’s only true desert, but the valley provides a lush setting of orchards and vineyards.
Singles Get A Break
The biggest pet peeve of solo travellers is a fee known as the single supplement. Since most resort and cruise pricing is based on ‘per person, double occupancy,’ singles have to pay more – sometimes 100% more. But there are lower occupancy times of the year when some resorts will reduce or waive the single supplement. Jason Sarracini, co-founder of Canadian tour operator Target Vacations, has his own blog at TripQuips.com, and he’s put together an article listing many Caribbean and Mexican resorts with no single supplement at various times of year (and now is one of them).
Turtle Time In PVR
Following their ancient annual cycle of reproduction, sea turtles are making their way back to the shores of Puerto Vallarta. Numerous hotels in the popular Mexican tourist destination run a marine turtle conservation and protection program with the help of a professional marine biologist. The eggs are incubated in their nests to best preserve natural conditions, and once the hatchlings are born and ready to be set free, the hotels invite guests to aid in the release. It’s a unique educational opportunity, perfect for children and a thrill for adults too. Participating hotels include the CasaMagna Marriot Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Velas Vallarta Suite Resort, Sheraton Buganvilias Resort, Dreams Puerto Vallarta, and Presidente InterContinental.
The main objective is to protect the eggs from looting and natural predators and teach resort guests about environmental conservation. Each night from July to December, resort staff members at properties located along the beach head down to the shore to gather eggs. After 45 days of protected incubation, the baby turtles hatch and are later released into the sea by resort guests under supervision of the marine biologist. In 2008, more than 81,000 turtles were released from the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, of which approximately 8,000 are expected to survive. Within 10 years, the females will return and lay eggs at the same beach.
Photo Credits: jacknewton.com/canada.htm, YinYang