The Football’s Done, But Brazil Isn’t…

It’s been a year to remember for Brazil. I don’t know about you, but this summer’s football feast has not only had my mouth watering on the pitch but off it, too. The pristine white beaches, metropolis-like cities, and samba atmosphere have left me in no quandary about packing my bag and booking the first flight to South America.

The football may now be over with the German’s conquering, but with the Olympic Games to build up to in 2016, the carnival is far from over and right at the heart of Brazil’s vibrant culture is Sao Paulo.

The country’s largest city is awash with great events, exciting festivals, and a nightlife that will leave you begging for the sun not to rise. With a range of great events to uncover all year round, here are just a few lined up to whet the appetite and have you touching down at Guarulhos International in no time…

Sticking to the sport theme, Brazil is also well known for its motorsport. The likes of Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, and the late great Ayrton Senna were all born in the city, whilst the Grand Prix on the 7th November is the penultimate race in the F1 schedule.

The chance to watch Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle it out for the Drivers’ Championship, sip champagne, and enjoy the 20 degree sunshine makes for one of the most exciting weekends on Sao Paulo’s calendar.

Initiated in 1951, the Bienal de Sao Paulo is the second oldest art biennial in the world behind Venice and has seen participants from 159 countries across the world.

Now in its 31st edition, the event gets underway on September 6 and runs through to December 7 and will surround how art projects can engage with and activate histories, individuals, and communities today.

Taking place in the Pavilion Ciccillo Matarazzo (the incredibly designed building in the heart of Ibirapuera Park), this year will feature over 60 projects on display and is the perfect destination for art lovers wanting to explore the culture amongst the sea of skyscrapers.

But for those wanting to sample a different kind of art, then taking to the tables and discovering the art of poker at the PokerStars BSOP tournament could be the perfect activity for you. Held just outside the city, away from the hustle and bustle of over 11 million inhabitants, the tournament takes place at the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi – one of the largest hotels in Latin America – and runs through the late stages of November and beginning of December.

So if you’re a whizz on the green felt, get your flight booked because there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as a card festival in one of the most alive atmospheres in the world.

During one of the most exciting festivals on the film circuit, for two weeks Sao Paulo stops and takes in the best new cinema. Over the years, the Sao Paulo International Film Festival has welcomed the likes of Dennis Hopper, Quentin Tarantino, and Alan Parker.

Now in its 38th year, the festival will take place between the 16th and 29th of October and will take in 22 theatres and over 300 movies ranging from directorial debuts to some of the finest filmmakers’ works in show business.

Of course there’s no finer way to cap off a year than with a big knees up to see in 2015. And Sao Paulo does just that.

During Reveillon the bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are teeming with celebrations, whilst the crowds spill onto the street and watch the jaw-dropping fireworks that can be seen for miles around.

Paulista Avenue is at the heart of that, stretching right through the city centre, although heading out of the city may also not be a bad idea.

The coast of Sao Paulo sees thousands flock to celebrate in what is an almost religious date in the country, giving you an unforgettable experience, and a New Year that will never be matched.

 

Key Recommendations When Traveling to the Dominican Republic

Source: Wikipedia Located in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is one of two nations that share the island of Hispaniola. (The western portion of the island is occupied by Haiti.) The Dominican Republic is the second largest nation in the Caribbean, with Cuba being the largest. The country is a popular travel destination for people from throughout Europe and North America.

When planning an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic , a number of tips should be borne in mind.

When to Visit the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is flush with tourists the year around. With that noted, if a person is interested in saving money or visiting the Dominican Republic when there are a bit fewer tourists, there are two times during the year to consider. From just after Easter through early June and in September and October, there are fewer tourists in country. In addition, the costs of lodging, food and entertainment also drops somewhat during these time period.

Carnival is a high point for tourists to the Dominican Republic each year. Carnival occurs during the least week of lent. Carnival is a time of celebration and partying, particularly in the larger cities on the island.

Getting to the Dominican Republic

The two most common ways of getting to the Dominican Republic are via air sea. Their are seven international airports serving the Dominican Republic, which makes flight into the country highly convenient. In addition, a significant number of cruise lines include the Dominican Republic as a port of call.

Although international air travel to and from the Dominican Republic is convenient and efficient, the same cannot be said about domestic flights within the country. In fact, there are few domestic flights in the Dominican Republic.

Although it is easy for a traveler to get to one or another of the primary tourist destinations in the country, getting to more out of the way locations can be significantly more challenging. If a person has a destination that is off the beaten path in mine for the Dominican Republic, a flight to the closest international airport should be planned with arrangements for a rental car made in advance of travel.

Accommodations in the Dominican Republic

All-inclusive resorts are rapidly becoming the mainstay in the Dominican Republic. They can be found at all of the primary tourist destinations in the country. With that said, there remain smaller independent resorts and inns both at the major tourists destinations and at some other locations throughout the country. The country boosts luxury lodgings as well as hotels and resorts that are less ostentatious, including venues that are suitable for families and people traveling on a tighter budget.

 

My New Favorite Waterfront Town

I visited my friend Simone in Victoria BCAs I resume blogging after quite some time off (starting your life over can really zap your energy!), I find myself smack in the middle of sharing my visit with my friend Simone in charming Victoria BC, her hometown. Simone is a fellow writer and blogger, and I just love her. She came to Vegas a few times and stayed with me, so I was thrilled to get to visit her!

My favorite part about Victoria is that it sits on the waterfront – it is actually the largest town on Vancouver Island, off the west coast of Canada. To get there, I flew into Vancouver and bought a bus/ferry ticket at the airport (it was very easy). The ferry ride to Victoria was stunning, so I was excited to take a ferry ride around Victoria.

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Top 5 parks to go on a safari in Africa for those on a budget

tarangire-national-park (1)

Exploring Africa while on safari is usually considered to be quite expensive thus putting off many travel enthusiasts who would like to visit and enjoy seeing wildlife in the continent. However, this should not be the case as there are quite a number of parks that are affordably priced for visitors travelling on a budget. In actual fact, accommodation, transport and living expenses are quite cheap in Africa but the wildlife viewing and adventure activities can drive costs higher. Therefore, with proper research through sites like My Adventure Store on budget parks in the continent you can be able to enjoy a safari at your preferred cost.

Etosha National Park

One of the best ways to explore Namibia is by visiting Etosha National park which lies on the southern part of the country. The park is quite accessible thus giving you the opportunity to see varied animals such as zebras, springboks which can be easily seen on many safaris. Proper planning of the safari can also enable you to view wildlife that is endangered in the country such as the lion, black rhinoceros and elephants among others. To save some money on the safari, you can seek accommodation outside the camp in places such as the Etosha safari camp which is just next to the park. The competitively priced camp offers extra facilities such as a swimming pool and other mini excursions organized by the camp for visitors.

Kruger National Park

It is one of the very well known parks in South Africa because of the diverse game that tourists get a chance to see when on safari. The park is quite extensive and has the famous “Big 5” as part of the African wildlife that you get to see when exploring its various sites. In addition, it is home to endangered species such as the spotted hyena, African wild dog and Cheetah that are mostly found in South Africa. The accommodation options offered to visitors touring the park are diverse with some being expensive and others that are good for those on a budget. The best accommodation when on a budget African safari in this park is campgrounds or self catering cabins that are often well maintained and protected as well.

Masai Mara

Enjoying a safari in Kenya cannot be complete without visiting the Masai Mara which is a well known national park. Visitors can be able to see the animals, aptly named the “Big 5” in their natural surroundings. The wildebeest migration, which is one of the popular events that takes place annually at the park, makes for an excellent experience. Even though quite popular, the park offers accommodation that is affordable to those on a budget such as camps, mini lodges and cabins among others. Early booking of these accommodation spaces will go a long way in cutting down the costs of the safari.

Tarangire National Park

The park located in Tanzania is home to elephants that live in large numbers within the wild and is a popular destination for many on safari. Although referred to as a seasonal park, its scenic beauty that includes volcanic mountains, baobab as well as acacia trees makes it worth exploring further. The best time to visit the park is when elephant herds frequently congregate at Tarangire River and meet other types of wildlife as well. Accommodation next to the park is quite affordable and may include campgrounds or cabins that are rented out to those visiting the area.

Chobe National Park

The park is located within the Okavango delta in Botswana and offers spectacular wildlife viewing at all times within a year. Elephants, which number over a hundred thousand, are a prime attraction in the park but visitors can also view other types of wildlife. Among the parks in the country, it is considered to be affordable as it can be accessed by car and the accommodation options available are competitively priced.

Getting The Most Out Of Mexico: What There Is To Offer

There are tons of tourists at the National Palace in Mexico.Situated at the bottom of North America, Mexico is a country that has plenty to see and do. There are natural wonders, incredible manmade structures and loads of fascinating history. Here are a few of the best things that the country has to offer.

 

Saving for a trip

Although Mexico is pretty cheap once you’re there, flights and travel can be quite expensive. Good accommodation with decent enough internet to play games online and talk to friends and family back home can also be a bit pricey, so it is a good idea to save up before you go.

You can help to keep the cost of your holiday down a bit by booking your flights as early as possible, when the cheapest seats are still available. Booking accommodation in advance can be money saving too.

 

Pyramid of the Sun

The Pyramid of the Sun is a unique artefact built by one of the most famous ancient civilizations the world has ever seen: the Aztecs. Construction on the building is thought to have begun in 100AD. Measuring 71.2 meters in height and with an 894 meter perimeter base, the arresting building is the largest structure in the pre-Colombian Mesoamerican ancient city of Teotihuacan, located in the modern capital Mexico City.

 

National Palace

The National Palace of Mexico is a sight that should not be missed if you’re in Mexico City. The building is located on the site of a former Aztec palace. Today the massive structure is home to the offices of the president of Mexico and the Federal Treasury. It also houses artwork by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

 

Acapulco

Located on the southwest coast of Mexico, Acapulco is the original beach resort in the country. The region was established as a popular beach getaway in the 1950s when it was frequented by the Hollywood starts of the day. Now, Acapulco is awash with overseas students who flock to area to enjoy the beautiful coastline. In addition to beaches, the region features rugged cliffs that are commonly used as platforms from which to jump into the sea.

 

Food

Last year, Mexico superseded the US as the fattest nation on earth. The obesity pandemic in the country is owing to overconsumption of fast food and fizzy drinks. However, the nation also has its own menu of delicious traditional foods that has been named by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The cuisine is generally a mix of staple native foods, such as beans, corn and chilli, with meat and herbs. Popular dishes include chilaquiles, pozole and mole.

 

Day of the Dead Festival

It is well worth booking your stay in Mexico to coincide with the Day of the Dead Festival, which takes place at the end of October each year. The festival is one of the most widely celebrated in Mexico and is held to honour and remember those who have died. One of the best Day of the Dead festivals is said to take place in Oaxaca, a city in the south of the Mexico.

Best types of beach accommodation

beach resortSpending time at the beach is a common relaxation activity for many people that want to enjoy the sun and the water around them. In most cases, residing at the beach front may be temporary, like when you are on vacation and other times it may be a permanent residence for someone that loves living by the beach. Nevertheless, accommodation by the beach is an integral aspect of enjoying your time in such an area, thereby making it important to select the best ones available. Majority of beach accommodation options can be categorized into two, which are purchased and rental housing that are taken up according to one’s preference. However, rental housing by the beach is much more popular as many people use them as accommodation when on vacation.

Although beach accommodation differs in terms of size and the amenities that have been made available when using them, there are some that are quite popular especially for rental. These beach rentals are ideal for individuals, couples and even families when on vacation for both short and long time periods. Some of the accommodation options for those that love the beach include:

  • Vacation Homes

Renting a vacation home is an ideal option for families that want to enjoy living by the beach but also maintain their privacy. These homes have quite a number of bedrooms and enhanced amenities that make it easy to experience a homely atmosphere even when on vacation. Living in these homes, can offer a spectacular view of the ocean and grants you an opportunity to enjoy the beach air as often as possible. However, renting a vacation home may be a bit expensive but the benefits are immense if it is a suitable option for you and your family.

  • Condo rentals

Condo rentals are a good choice for people travelling in groups or families, but they can also be rented out by a couple that are looking to enjoy some time alone. In most cases, the condos can have a single bedroom or they can have up to three depending on its size. These types of beach rental condos allow those living in them to enjoy their independence while enjoy all other amenities provided. In addition, rental condos can have dedicated staff to take care of meals and maintain cleanliness but others are self-catering.

  • Beach resorts

Accommodation by the beach can also be at a resort that allows those residing in it to enjoy all the amenities provided. The resorts offer services such as wide living spaces, concierge services and enhanced amenities that make your stay unforgettable. Also, consider the location when choosing a room at a beach resort so that you can enjoy a breathtaking view both day and night. However, it is important to find the most suitable resort for the type of vacation you want to enjoy alone or with family.

All in all, finding the right accommodation by the beach is the first step towards enjoying a well deserved vacation.

Decisions, Decisions: Tips for Picking Your Next Vacation Destination

Where will you go next?If the idea weighing most on your mind right now is where to take your next vacation, things are going pretty well for you. Because that’s a great problem to have! Narrowing down the options can seem like quite a daunting task. You’re gearing up to spend a lot of money, and vacation days are limited, so you naturally want to make the most of the trip.

Here are just a few tips for deciding on your next destination.

What Do You Really Want to Do?

This may seem kind of obvious but when deciding on vacation destinations, it is easy to get off track and end up going somewhere that is not the best fit for you. You may get wowed by the number of offerings a place has, even though you probably wouldn’t do a fraction of those activities. You may get lured in by the current hot spots, even though your actual desire to go there is not that strong, but you think it is somewhere you ‘should’ want to go because everyone else is going there. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Chances are, if you really have a pull to visit a certain spot, you will have a really good time there.

Give some thought to what you really want to do on your vacation; once you have a bit of clarity about that, it will be easier to zero in on the best places, and you will make your decision with greater confidence.

Budget Considerations

Obviously, the cost to vacation in various areas fluctuates dramatically. When deciding on a destination, it is a good idea to get a rough idea of your budget, and give some thought to your preferred style of travel. Where can your money go the farthest and give you the most ideal vacation? Clearly, you don’t want to consider a destination based solely on price—what good is saving a bunch of money if you really have no interest in actually going there? But, the more wiggle room you have for nicer accommodations, etc…, the more you can achieve that vacation ‘feel.’

Look for places that offer a variety of preferred activities all in one shot, and reduce the need to travel. For example, if you were hoping to soak in some natural beauty, a place like Turner Falls Park, nestled in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma, would be a good choice—there are camping grounds, hiking, swimming, beautiful sights to take in and a host of other sights and activities to enjoy all in one place.

If you really wanted to just lounge around the pool and beach, and grab some good food, an all-inclusive vacation could be a great deal. If you were interested in an urban locale, check out the official tourism site for more information on specials, such as passes that allow for discounted entry into various top attractions—these offerings often add up to significant savings.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things Up

We all have our preferences when it comes to the type of vacation we enjoy, and you may find yourself doing the same thing year after year. If that’s really working for you, don’t mess with a good thing and force change when it really isn’t called for. But, if you are feeling a pull to do something else, but are reluctant because you are so accustomed to your yearly camping trip or beach getaway, break the mold this year. Do a bit of research on the new type of trip that is pulling at you, and just go for it.

No matter what you end up doing, you will end up having a good time anyway, if you decide it will be so. And, if you don’t like it so much, you know not to do it again. Live and learn!

So, there you have it; three tips to help you narrow down your destination options. So, get to planning, and enjoy!

Cruising Solo: Taking to the Seas by Yourself

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecstaticist/Although stereotypically associated with older couples enjoying their twilight years, cruises are becoming increasingly indulgent and perfectly suited to solo travellers. With sophisticated dining options, world-beating spa facilities and ever-changing beautiful scenery, the modern cruise is an ideal escape from the stresses of modern life.

Solo Traveller Amenities

Realising their attraction to solo travellers, many new ships are being built with a percentage of studio cabins. The upcoming Norwegian Escape cruise ship will be complete with 82 rooms designed for single travellers. Meaning you could be traversing the seas with 81 other like-minded, adventurous travellers.

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Rental apartments in New York City: What You need to Know

Finding  a rental in NYC is no easy task.I lived in New York for five years in my early 20s, some of the happiest times of my life! Just out of college, I truly thought anything was possible. And the excitement of living in the city added to dreamy idealism. I would have done anything to make living in Manhattan work. My room was so small that I had to get off the foot of my bed, and my closet was a flimsy free-standing thing out of a catalog. But who cares – I was living in Manhattan! But finding an apartment there is not an easy task. I’ve compiled some tips on finding a rental – for both travelers passing through, and those with more long-term plans.

Tips on selecting rental apartments in New York City

New York City is a popular destination for those travelling for business or leisure because of its engaging scenery and diverse people. However, it is important to have an idea of where you will stay once you get to this vibrant city. New York has a variety of accommodation options to choose from with the most common being apartments, flats, condos and studios among others. These living spaces can be ideal for families as well as single people that want to enjoy their personal space. Even so, apartments in New York are usually the desired choice by many people seeking accommodation for a short or long time period.

Rental apartments in New York: What You need to Know

Most times, apartments in New York are rented out to tenants at varied fees depending on the type of apartment. However, before paying for an apartment, it is important to consider a number of factors which include:

First, compare the rental fees of various apartments before deciding on one that meets your budget and is still quality housing. If working with a broker or referral service, ensure that they do not charge you exorbitant fees for their services.

Second, ensure that the rent of the apartment is stabilized to avoid increase in rent in an unlawful manner amongst other benefits.

Third, ensure that you get a lease and read through it carefully before signing it and then moving into the apartment. Ask as many questions as possible about the terms and conditions to gain a better understanding of your rights as a tenant.

Popular types of apartments in New York

There are different types of apartments in New York that one can choose from, depending on your preference. The most popular ones are:

  • Garden apartment

These apartments in New York have a garden area that can be used as a relaxation area in the home. It is also a good place to entertain guests during the summer and is ideal for people that enjoy the outdoors.

  • Studio

This type of apartment is basically one room that has a kitchen as well as full bathroom and is ideal for a single person. In some cases, the studio apartment my also include an alcove which can be used for dining.

 

  • Loft

A loft is a single room that has ceilings as well as windows that are quite high up, making it look quite large. Lofts can have a single room or more thus making it possible to be rented out by singles and families as well.

  • Convertible

These apartments in New York consist of a space that is large enough for it to be divided into two rooms. The extra room can be used as a bedroom or even dining area in the apartment.

  • Duplex

In most cases, these types of apartments in New York have two levels but some referred to as Triplex have three levels. The levels are unique with one specifically set aside as a bedroom for the living space and is usually on the second floor.

5 Family Friendly Things to do in Jakarta

If you are looking for a fun destination for your next family trip, consider visiting Jakarta in Indonesia. It is a bustling city that has so much to offer both adults and children that are looking for ways to relax and have fun. Although there are a number of ways to travel to Jakarta, the most convenient is by air, as most international planes land at the Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport. From there, you will be able to get transport to take your family to a hotel or preferred accommodation within the city. There are a number of hotels in the city such as the Pan Pacific Jakarta Hotel which is luxurious and family friendly. Its central location makes it ideal for families that want to explore the city while also enjoying personal Indonesian hospitality.
To get the most out of your Jakarta visit, there are a number of activities and places that families can have fun and get entertained as well. Some of these popular locations and activities include:
1. Indulge in Indonesian cuisine
Although Jakarta has restaurants that serve international cuisine for the benefit of non-locals, it is advisable to sample foods that are eaten daily by Indonesians. There are a number of specialties to choose from depending on your preference and they include the famous chicken satay and nasi goreng. Nasi goreng is basically fried rice that can be accompanies by prawns, eggs and even chicken. These meals are served in local restaurants at affordable price, which makes it possible to sample as many foods as possible.
2. Shop at Pasar Baru
Pasar Baru is the local Jakarta market where visitors can walk freely while sampling the different wares being sold on the street. The street on which the market is situated is quite pedestrian friendly making it a good family outing even with children. Majority of the businesses showcasing their products are family run with most of them being new and others second hand. The costs are affordable allowing you to buy gift items such as watches, clothes and belts among others.
3. Role playing at Kidzania
Visiting Kidzania is usually a treat for the children when in Jakarta because the theme park has been designed with them in mind. Children are allowed to imagine themselves as professionals in the business world at least for a day. They can choose from quite a number of professions where they get paid for a job well done using the park’s official currency known as Kidzos. Nevertheless, it is important to book a time slot for your child as the theme park is quite popular making it busy at all times.

4. Explore National museum
One of the most iconic buildings in Jakarta is the National museum which has been in existence for two centuries. The museum which is located in the centre of the city is a good place for you to learn much more about the history of the country. It has a number of unique items that reveal the historical, geographical, ethnological and archaeological journey of the Asian country.
5. Have fun at the dream park
Ancol Dreamland is a good place for your family to unwind after a day full of activities. The twenty four hour amusement park has a number of attractions that leave many people amazed when they first step in. Some of the popular attractions at the dream park include Fantasy World, Ocean Dream Samudra, Sea World beaches, Atlantis Water Adventure, Art Market and Ocean Eco Park among others.

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