Value Award Winners for 2011

For four years, up! magazine has asked readers to vote on the best-value travel experiences in Canada, U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Here’s a sampling of the top destinations our readers picked for 2011.


All the responses have been tallied and the Value Award winners are in. Here’s what you had to say about the best-value travel experiences in Canada, the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Canada Value Award Winners

Calgary Stampede

For the fourth year in a row, the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth proves the 10-day western romp is still loved by up! readers. Highlights include chuckwagons, bull riding, midway rides and deep-fried-everything-you-can-think-of.

Niagara Falls

With more than 13 million annual visitors who stop and watch the surging waters, this natural wonder still gets top votes by our readers.

Blues on Whyte 

A little bit grungy, a little bit groovy—the Saturday Afternoon Jam at the Commercial Hotel in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona ’hood remains a local favourite. ()

Whistler Blackcomb

Readers remain smitten with the epic terrain and 10 metres of annual white stuff that blankets this West Coast ski resort like a fluffy duvet. Top marks also went to the 18 on-the-hill restos.

USA Value Award Winners

Walt Disney World

If your little ones can sing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, they’re likely ready to meet Mickey, Cinderella, Ariel and the rest of Walt’s clan at this perennial family favourite.

Grand Canyon

A World Heritage Site, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this American landmark has such a diverse range of eco-systems (five out of the seven life zones) and never fails to snag a top spot on bucket lists.

Wailea Golf Club

Sweet breezes, tropical weather and awe-inspiring ocean views, this resort offers a testing ground for aces and amateurs.

Bellagio Hotel

This award-winning, super-luxe hotel on The Strip has the numbers to back it. There are 1,200 fountains. Nearly 4,000 rooms and 14 restaurants. Two AAA Five-Diamond restos. Even its own theatre that hosts O, a Cirque du Soleil show. Numbers aside, the Bellagio keeps guests coming back with top service, year after year.

Mexico Value Award Winners


One of the Riviera Maya’s most popular spots is this eco-park. Built on the ancient bathing grounds of pre-Columbian Maya, you’ll find archaeological ruins, a very cool underground river, a swimming lagoon, snorkelling spots and a stunning nightly cultural show.


When you’re swimming with the fishes at Xel-Ha, you may be surprised at how many there are. At what’s been touted as the biological paradise of the Riviera Maya, you’ll find more than 70 species of aquatic life.

Casa Leyendas

There’s a reason why up! readers love this Mazatlan B&B. Impeccable service, comfy rooms and an amazing breakfast with fresh fruit, homemade breads and cereal—topped off with a glass of mimosa—keep guests coming back.

Coco Bongo

Lauded as Cancun’s No. 1 nightclub, this stadium-size, dance-till-morning venue can pack in 2,000 folks. Salsa, Caribbean, house, techno —they play it all at this beachfront, heart-pounding club that always scores big with those on spring break.

Caribbean Value Award Winners

Grand Bahia Principe

Another front-runner in the world of all-inclusives (great rooms, service and beaches), Grand Bahia gets top marks for its location. Just minutes away from Runaway Bay, the nightlife starts at 11 p.m. and goes all night.

Compass Point Restaurant

Framed by 18 dainty one- and two-storey dollhouse huts, this entire little inn exudes whimsy. Numerous up! readers loved the 150-seat charmer-of-a-restaurant, where they swooned over grilled mahi mahi with mango relish.

Dunn’s River Falls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls—climb them instead. This popular natural wonder is lauded for its cool cascading water and the 183 metres of climbable steps. ()

Sandals Whitehouse

The entire beachfront oasis in the heart of a 500-acre nature preserve feels like a sanctuary. But enter its award-winning spa and you’ll be convinced you’ve found Never Never Land at what’s become Jamaica’s gold standard of bliss.

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