Winter activities and sun destinations while waiting for the warm season

Winter activities and sun destinations
while waiting for the warm season

Winter. The Ottawa River is blocked by ice and it is unfortunately impossible to go rafting on the river. [However, check out the picture we took last year on December 24th, lower in this article]. While we all patiently wait for the ice to break and for temperatures to warm up a little, we have prepared a list of activities you can do while waiting for the rafting season to reopen, as well as a few sun destinations where you will be able to get your fill of rafting.
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Winter activity #1

Whitewater rafting during winter

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Maybe not the best idea during most winters. Except maybe in December 2015 as in this picture!

Winter activity #2

Ice skating

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If you live in the Ottawa / Gatineau area, you know that one of the best winter activities available in the area is ice skating on the Rideau canal. This location is the world’s longest skating ring and can be open for up to 7.8km in the coldest winters! In Canadian units of measure, this is as long as 105 hockey rinks! However, it is important to note that the skating ring usually opens somewhere in January as you must wait until the ice thickens enough: at least 30cm of ice is required, for everybody’s safety.

Ice skating is great winter exercise and can make you sweat even thought it is freezing cold outside. When you go with a few friends, it can be a great experience and you will feel like you have spent quality time with them, exactly like when you go rafting on the Ottawa river. If you are looking for a similar setting in Montreal, try Parc Lafontaine. While smaller than the Rideau canal, it offers one of best outdoor settings in the city.

If you are a beginner and do not own skates, rentals are usually available. It can be cold on the ice so don’t forget to bring your warmest winter jacket and a few extra layers underneath (but not too much, you don’t want to be too hot). Also, don’t worry about falling as you will see many other people do the same, meaning they won’t even glance in your direction if this happens! Everybody has to start somewhere and you shouldn’t avoid fun winter activities even if you’ve never done them!

Winter activity #3

Snow tubing

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The best location in the area for snow tubing is without any doubt Saint-Jean-de-Matha, with their 17 different tracks with varying speed and height. You can also come during the evening as the tracks are illuminated.

Better yet for those of you who are waiting for the rafting season to come back: they offer snow rafting! You will be in a 4 to 12 people rafts and will be able to reach speeds close to 100 km/h in the best conditions. Snow rafting is thus only for the thrill-seekers as the speed can truly be overwhelming: there is no safety belt and it can be a little scary at times!

Whether you choose snow rafting or snow tubing, this is truly a unique experience that every rafting enthusiast should try.

Winter activity #4

Winter cottages and hiking

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Have you ever tried a romantic getaway in a rustic cottage? Heated using a wood stove and without electricity, our cottages are perfect for a unique romantic getaway in the middle of winter. The natural warmth of burning wood is like no other, soothing for the body and the soul. If you are looking for warm beverages, which are particularly good in the winter, you will have all the necessary stuff for doing so. Candle-lights, a wood stove and a cabin surrounded by snow makes for a very unique ambiance. Naturally, we will make sure that your cottage is heated upon your arrival, so that you can relax and enjoy your time during your winter getaway. Don’t worry, we will give you all the firewood that is necessary for your entire stay but you will also be able to chop your own wood should you wish to do so. You will also be given a supply of drinking water and cooking essentials will be available as well.

During the day, you will have the opportunity to explore the wonders of the surrounding areas by hiking the woods as the wooded area surrounding the cottage is perfect for hiking. The woods look gorgeous and eerie during the winter, especially with the calming winter silence of the woods. Your winter hiking experience will not be complete without trying to spot tracks in the snow! Should you find tracks, try to guess which animal made the tracks you spotted. Don’t stop there! You may be able to spot other animals if you look more carefully and if you listen to the different sounds surrounding you. For instance, many different species of bird stay in the area in winter and you may be able to spot them!

For a more traditional experience, you could bring snowshoes to enjoy the surrounding woods differently. With their sound-dampening properties, there is something magical about snowshoeing and it is perfect for those who are looking to return to their roots. Don’t forget to bring appropriate clothes as hiking in winter is a good exercise that might make you sweat, which mean you should wear a wicking fabric close to your skin, and insulating jacket in the middle and your winter jacket on top.

If you are looking to live this incredible winter experience, call us at 1-800-690-7238 for more information on our cottages and this webpage for the current prices.

Sun destination #1

Dominican Republic

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Looking to go to the Caribbean this winter? Try the Dominican Republic, on which you will find the Yaque del Norte River, which is the longest river in the country. Being a large island, the Dominican Republic is one of the only true rafting location in the Caribbean. Depending on the season, this river offers Class II to IV rapids and most trips are 3.5 hours in duration. Unfortunately, class IV rapids are only available during the wet season, which is during our summer. The highlight of rafting trips on this river are the Tyson rapid, with a 3.6m vertical drop. To get to the rafting location from your resort however, you will probably need a car as the city is located 140km away by car from Saint-Domingue, the capital of the country.

Sun destination #2

Jamaica

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While Jamaica does not offer whitewater rafting above Class III, you will be able to rafting in the rain forest on class III rapids. However, you will also be able to experience bamboo rafting, which is basically going down the river on a flat bamboo “canoe”. For rafting enthusiasts as well as beginners, this is a unique experience that will make your Caribbean vacation even more unforgettable!

Sun destination #3

Chile

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Looking for a location with better rapids? Try Chile. Being in the southern hemisphere the weather will be perfect during our winter. A few companies offer rafting in Patagonia, the southern tip of South America. You will be able to experience rafting on the Río Futaleufú, a world renown rafting location with Class III or V rapids. Whether you are looking for the adrenaline rush or for a more relaxing experience, there is something for everybody and this will make you forget that winter is here back in Canada.

Should you wish to experience this, you can book a trip along parts of the river or even its entirety. You will be amazed by the spectacular landscapes that the area offers. If you would prefer other activities during your stay in Chile, it is not a problem in Patagonia, as you will be able to venture out on horseback, kayaking, trekking, rock climbing, canyoning and even more! Perfect for the outdoor enthusiasts.

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