Welcome to Banff.
Famed for its dramatic vistas, Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta, fully incorporated within Banff National Park. Here, Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, a picture-perfect mountain village, abundant wildlife and scenic drives all come together. This is a destination where the photos provide enough encouragement to plan a trip, but we’ll be sure to provide some guidance on the best time to visit and what you cannot miss while you’re there!
Banff is Canada’s first national park. In 1883, on the slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, three railway workers discovered a natural hot spring, and from there the park was born. Nowadays, Banff is one of the world’s premier destinations, spanning a region of unparalleled majestic mountain scenery. Every year, millions of visitors make the pilgrimage to Banff to take in its stunning views and arsenal of activities.
Banff Town, known for is charming and colorful streets, is a resort town of fewer than 10,000 people fully incorporated within the park. The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate its skyline. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with château-style hotels and souvenir shops.
Made a World Heritage Site in 1985, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, hosting more than 4 million visitors a year. Here are just a few activities you can do while there:
- Whitewater rafting
Must See Attractions
Around a third of a square mile in surface, the gorgeous turquoise color comes from rock flour carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook it. Lake Louise has been called the ultimate getaway. Romantic and relaxing, the pace in Lake Louise attracts people who want to savor the finer things in life; a good book in front of the fireplace, the stillness of the outdoors, or a quiet walk after dinner — you can even get married here!
Yet Lake Louise offers a vibrant nightlife including bistros and lounges. There’s a lower village with a vast array of fine dining, first class accommodations and shopping. Up the hill the Chateau Lake Louise presents lake-side views of the towering Victoria Glacier offering old-world charm and elegance amidst the wilderness. Enjoy phenomenal skiing in a serene and quiet setting in the great Canadian Rockies, enjoy winter resort Spas and hot springs or land on a high mountain glacier by ski plane.
The Lake Louise ski resort shares the same valley as the village and is only a few minutes from any village hotel — a great option for skiers who want the kind of peace and quiet that only the wilderness of a national park can offer. In Lake Louise all this is virtually right outside your door.
If you choose to stay at Lake Louise and are looking for the ultimate luxury experience, consider staying at the iconic Fairmount Chateau. Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, the majestic Victoria Glacier and a glistening emerald lake, the hotel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism. And just look at those views!
Sunshine Meadows – 7,000 feet above ordinary
Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park could easily be considered one of Alberta’s most scenic hikes—and the real beauty of it is that you don’t even have to work that hard to enjoy the million-dollar views. Located in the popular Sunshine Village ski resort, the trails open up as soon as the snow melts, revealing plenty of well-marked trails which wind past piercing blue lakes, fragrant meadows bursting with wildflowers and spectacular vantage points of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Ride Banff’s biggest gondola (8-passenger cabin capacity) with the whole family. Start at the base at an elevation of 1,659 m and ride the gondola to the top Village terminal at 2,159 m. Take in all the views of the valley and wildlife.
From the Village, ride the Standish Chairlift to 2,385 m (7,825 ft) and experience the 360 degree breathtaking views.
The Columbia Icefield is just one of the many attractions along the Icefields Parkway. It is home one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. The massive six kilometer long and one kilometer wide tongue of the Athabasca Glacier flows to within walking distance of the Icefields Parkway. You can go beyond just viewing the glaciers from the parkway by taking the Ice Explorer Adventure. It is a giant 6 wheeled all terrain vehicle that looks like something out of a futuristic movie. During the 90 minute experience it will take you right onto the Athabasca Glacier.
The best times to visit Banff are June to August and December to March. Nature lovers will want to get to the park when the weather is warm and welcoming (and while the hotel rates in town are at a reasonable level). The skiers, however, will want to vacation in the height of winter. The Northern Lights will shine the brightest from February through to April on the dark, clear nights. Temperatures in winter range from 8 degrees to 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in summer range from 45 degrees to 71 degrees Farenheit. Whenever you decide to visit, you’ll be assured unforgettable memories!
Visit the iconic Dunn’s River Falls
Dunn‘s River Falls is a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios, Jamaica and a major Caribbean tourist attraction that receives thousands of visitors each year.
At about 180 feet (55 m) high and 600 feet (180 m) long, the waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs though some incorporate man-made improvements. Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls.
The falls empty into the Caribbean Sea at the western end of a white-sand beach. Dunn’s River Falls is one of the very few travertine waterfalls in the world that empties directly into the sea.
The picture-perfect appearance of this cascading waterfall might make you think that it’s man-made. But in fact, the continuous lime deposits that are smoothed over with the never-ending flow of spring water leaves us with what can only be described as a gift from mother nature herself. A trip here is sure to be etched into your memory for the rest of your life.
Once you make it down to the beach, this is where you start climbing the falls. You have the option of holding hands and forming a train, or you can try to find your own route to the top. Look out for dark-colored rocks. That’s a sign that it might be very slippery.
Even though very few people get seriously injured climbing the falls, many find it safer to climb with a tour guide. Tour guides climb these falls daily and know how to keep you out of danger. Every group has a daredevil or 2 so if that’s you, just be careful!
Climbing the falls can be intimidating at times. Some parts are steeper than others and there’s a constant flow of water pulling your legs. This can make it difficult for you to keep your balance.
If you’re not comfortable continuing with the climb, there are a few places for you to exit the falls before getting to the top. But you have to earn the right to brag to your family, friends, and coworkers that you climbed to the top of Dunn’s River Falls.
The Falls are a Perfect Shore Excursion on a Western-Caribbean Cruise
There are lots of options for visiting the Falls from a Western Caribbean Cruise. Choose from 5 – 10 night cruises, departing from New York, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando or New Orleans. Depending on the cruise line, your docking point in Jamaica will be either Ocho Rios or Falmouth, both of which offer easy transportation to Dunn’s River Falls.
Beyond the Falls, Jamaica has so much more to offer. Book a cruise to indulge in the good vibes and good times of Jamaica’s island life.
The island has fairly good weather all year long, but it’s good to know that the rainy season comes in May and then again from October to November. Jamaica also has a hurricane season that lasts from June 1 to November 30. November and December is a great time to visit: The likelihood of storms is low, and the weather is still warm while it’s colder in more northerly climates.
Chat with an agent now, call or send us an email if you’d like more information on planning your unforgettable trip to Jamaica!
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