Albertans make a lot of sacrifices to live in the Great White North. We endure long frigid winters, we live in relative isolation from other developed places, we sometimes lack exposure to vibrant cultures, and we inhabit a remote part of the world where international travel faces many barriers. We live up here for good reason, however, as we value our families, our friends, and our lifestyle, not to mention our high standard of living, our above average levels of education and life expectancy, a strong economy, and our levels of freedom, both economic and political. At the end of the day, Alberta is a pretty great place to live, and Albertans know this well.
Attributed to our excellent economy, many Albertans choose to work hard, save money, and use our strong purchasing power to travel the world, especially to escape from cold snaps like the one present, where temperature have hovered below negative twenty centigrade for the better part of a week. So, one of the best parts of being in Alberta is our ability to leave Alberta, thus in celebration of this freedom, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 most popular winter getaway spots for Albertans:
This is obvious because of the proximity, but Albertans love our neighbours to the South. You know exactly what to expect: convenience, selection, and indulgence; the US, under hyper-capitalism, has it all. Obvious and easy hot spots for snow birds such as Southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Florida make for affordable, safe, and, civilized winter breaks. Those who like exotic within the realm of familiar, find Hawaii; while those who just love the Alberta experience, shoot down to Texas and meet Alberta’s wild and patriotic cousins.
Convenient and affordable, Mexico is a welcoming location with beautiful beaches, charming culture, stimulating cuisine, and friendly locals. The obvious tourist spots are Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Ixtapa, and Acapulco, which offer all the conveniences and amenities expected in western-style resort towns. Or pop off the beaten path to find more isolated beaches in Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, or Cabo San Lucas; pair this with ventures inland to explore historic colonial cities like Moriela, Guanajuato, or Mexico City.
4. Dominican Republic
Yes, it shares an island with Haiti. If that doesn’t bother you, check out Puerto Plata or Cabrera- both lovely, charming, and cosmopolitan Caribbean destination. Whale watching, scuba diving, sailing, and many more water activities are a popular occupier of time, however, you must come back to shore for evenings of Latin dining and dancing into the morning hours.
With recent news that Barack Obama is lifting the American travel barriers to Cuba, Canada is losing its North American travel monopoly of Cuba! It will soon no longer be a destination to avoid those loud and pesky American travellers, so now is your last chance to visit the communist relic before it falls to glorious Americanism.
Relax on this Rastafarian island that feels worlds away from home. Explore Bob Marley’s homeland, including tours through the Fern Gully rain forest to the town where the reggae icon was born and is buried. If the marijuana culture isn’t for you, no sweat, enjoy the heat, some Rum or Red Stripe, spicy jerk-chicken, and proper British attire and attitudes. Although I am one for adventure, Jamaica doesn’t have the best reputation for safety outside the beach towns, thus I only recommend stays on the North side of the isle, in destinations of Montego Bay, Negril, Discovery Bay, and Ocho Rios.
Grand Bahama and Nassau are two excellent destinations, just miles off the coast of Florida and closer than many of the Keys. Nassau is famous for Paradise Island and the massive structures that make up the iconic Atlantis Resorts. While the beach here is truly one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, the charm of Nassau comes from wondering the old city and enjoying the tastes and sounds of pubs and restaurants that make up the Fish Fry district.
8. Costa Rica
With one of the most stable and predictable governments and legal systems in the Americas, Costa Rica has become a popular and secure investment opportunity for those seeking a paradise real estate property. You’ll experience first class beauty and adventure, from the white sand beaches to the lush valleys and zip-lining eco tours in this Central America oasis.
From the Andes mountains to sprawling beaches on the South Atlantic, with the Mendoza wine valley, Iguazú falls, and Buenos Airies in between, I could never do Argentina justice with a quick blurb such as this. Experience it all in Argentina, which will steal your heart, your soul, and probably your wallet.
Our strange, up-side-down cousins down-under experience a fairly similar experience to that of Albertans. Loyal to the Queen of England, inhabiting a small section of their expansive landmass, and enjoying a level of wealth that allows for education and world travel, all whist celebrating a low-brow culture of sorts- enjoying the great outdoors, sports, and pounding back cold ones with their mates. Australia is the perfect counter-part for those seeking eternal summer. I for one could certainly get used to May through September in Canada coupled with Southern Hemisphere summers in Australia!