The worldwide destinations series is mainly a collection of submissions by other travel writers that have traveled to areas that we've not yet covered, or they are intrigued by specific areas of the world in which they have done extensive research.
Although we write about our adventures and travels, we're not always able to find the time and other professional travel writers, those wizards with words that ooze descriptive talent, are featured here to keep our followers entertained and informed.
Fall asleep under the stars, lulled into a dreamlike state with the sound of lions sleepily roaring just past your consciousness. Wake up to the brilliance of a rising sun, with stately elephants dustily silhouetted against the horizon.
Relax to the haunting melody of panpipes and drums echoing your heartbeats...the experiences you will have, your encounters with humans and animals and the sheer diversity of the continent, will draw you back time and time again to the pulsating spirit of Africa...more
The "departamento" or state, of La Libertad is located on the central Pacific coast of El Salvador. This region is home to some of the most beautiful and captivating beaches in Latin America, and it can be reached from the capital of San Salvador in less than 45 minutes.
This Salvadoran ocean-front property has a lot to offer, from surfing adventures to the release of endangered sea turtle hatchlings; from a vibrant night life to a relaxing, therapeutic weekend in front of the ocean. Two spots which represent this wide range are the neighboring beaches of San Blas and El Tunco...more
At first glance the average reader thinks one of three things when they are asked about Colombia: coffee, cocaine and supermodels. And if you ask the average foreigner a question regarding the capital city they'll usually shrug and give a nonchalant reply of, "it's a slum-filled rat-hole where the cartel leaders hole up".
But to South America, Bogota is anything but. It is a bustling hive of culture, fashion, education, tourism, banking and, more importantly, a thriving modern hub with a high-speed infrastructure and safety numbers that put many North American cities to shame...more
Unlike south American's most popular beaches Cabo Blanco isn't tropical. A thriving fishing village situated on Peru's Northern Shore a few hundred kilometers from the Ecuadorian border, only a few stray palm trees dot the town's blunt, desert coastline. But Cabo Blanco presents a visually striking landscape and in its starkness there is a beauty of literary proportions.
In fact, when Ernest Hemmingway arrived in Cabo Blanco the site's beauty is reported to have awed him. There for the filming of his acclaimed novel, The Old Man and The Sea, Hemmingway reportedly caught a 700 hundred-pound marlin during his one-month stay...more
Skardu is a city in the northern area of Pakistan, at the junction of Himalayas and Karakoram. The 8000 meters giant white peaks of Karakoram Range hide behind the brown mountains giving no hint to the travelers for the surprise that waits them.
The 40 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide valley (of the same name) at an altitude of 2290 meters from sea level, exists at the junction of River Indus and River Shigar and is the gateway to the world's highest peak K2 which is 8611 meters high. K2 and Nanga Parbat have never, ever been climbed in the winter. Not only this, it has the world's 8 highest peaks in its surroundings including the killer mountain; Nanga Parbat which is 8126 meters high...more
Do you love a challenge? Do the mountains beckon you with their overpowering beauty? Are you up for a longish drive through the highest altitudes in the world? Then the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan is a road you must travel sometime in your life. It starts from near Islamabad and the dusty plains of Punjab, weaving through sparse green hills which give no indication of what's to come!
This is the high road to China, all of 1200 kilometers long, running through an impossibly difficult terrain...with raging rivers, precipitous peaks and deep ravines...blasted and bulldozed through mountains that are both forbidding and majestic...more
Sunlight flickers on your eyelids, through gently swishing palm leaves. Blue waters ripple past your languid fingers as they trail over the edge of your houseboat. With every drop of lightly scented Ayurvedic oil dripping in a lazy arc on your forehead, with every bird call filtering through the emerald green forest in the distance, you are transported to a place when rush hour traffic and deadlines are but a hazy concept, and life is a gentle journey to be savored.
You are in Kerala, aptly known as 'God's Own Country'...a jewel nestled between the glistening Arabian Sea and the towering Western Ghats...crisscrossed with 44 rivers, dotted with lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. There are also rushing waterfalls and scented plantations, paddy fields and cultural monuments...more
Home to the Andes, the world's second-largest mountain range, Peru has always been an obvious travel destination for hikers and trekkers.
However, tantalized by the allure of the Inca trail or the prospect of snow-capped Andean peaks, travelers often overlook less obvious but equally spectacular hiking destinations within the county, particularly those in the selva alta, or high jungle, regions...more
At the heart of modern Bulgaria is Sofia, the capital city. With around four million residents as of 2012, and only then if you include all of the metro areas surrounding, it's not the largest of capitals, nor is it the grandest. But it more than makes up for its size with a rich tapestry of history, one that is often forgotten as tourists come only to make their way to the ski slopes of Bansko for a week-long ski-fest, or the shores of the Black Sea for a seaside holiday.
Centrally located in the Balkans in the western part of the country at the foot of the volcanic Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is a modern hub of infrastructure blended in with a hint of Thracian, Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman antiquity...more
The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the name "Cancun" is Spring Break. Which in turn brings to mind images of drunken frat kids spinning wildly out of control on the beach, wet T-shirt contests, wild orgies and drug-induced incidents that go straight to YouTube. And while it's certainly true that the tourist strip of the city known as the Hotel Zone caters to that type of crowd, there's much more than meets the eye in this tropical destination.
The city is split into two separate sections. The Hotel Zone is loaded with more all-inclusive resorts than Las Vegas, Nevada, and if you are looking for a weekend-for-two with all-you-can-eat-buffets, pristine beaches, turquoise waters, infinity pools and spa therapy, there's plenty to go around. But, there's also the almost unknown part of Cancun on the mainland, the residential areas where the vast majority of workers in the Hotel Zone live, and where the real Mexico exists...more
The small town of Suchitoto in northern El Salvador represents for the country both the rise of tourism as well as the memory of its past. From its charming and ordered center to the breathtaking views found on the outside of town and offers travelers the chance to experience geographic and architectural beauty and to learn more about the host country...more
A visit to the Atacama will likely redefine your understanding of the word "desert." Extending roughly 600 miles down the Pacific coastline, from southern Peru through northern Chile, this particular desert is the driest place on earth.
A vast stretch of sand dotted by salt lakes and felsic lava, some regions of the desert have even gone up to four years without a single drop of rainfall. Though, while the landscape might be barren and the population sparse, this area is a truly fascinating place, full of unique and interesting things to do...more
Once called the greatest 20th century poet of any language by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda is perhaps Latin America's most well known Poet. The 1971 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Neruda is famous for his beautiful verses and erotically-charged love poems.
And for those searching to find his legacy in Chile, the Pablo Neruda Pilgrimage is a great place to start. The pilgrimage, which entails a visit to all three of Neruda's homes, provides tremendous insight into the personal life of this famed literary figure...more
Ayahuasca...these days, you would be hard pressed to travel through the Amazon without hearing some mention of it. This hallucinogen plant mixture has a long history of etheogenic practices within many indigenous communities in the Amazon basin, used both for medical purposes and spiritual guidance.
Lured by the promise of an extraordinary psychedelic experience, tourists from all over are flocking to cities like Iquitos and Tarapoto in search of Ayahuasca, which is made by combining the caapi vine with DMIT-containing plants...more
Salar de Uyuni is truly an impressive sight...stretching a staggering 4100 miles across the southwestern portion of Bolivia. It is the world's largest salt flat, the remnants of a prehistoric lake.
It is located in the altiplano region of Bolivia, a high plateau formed during the geological uplift of the Andes mountains. At an altitude of roughly 12,000 feet this unique and beautiful landscape is situated between the crest of the Andes and the vast Atacama desert...more
More than 52 million tourists visited New York City last year, and it continues to be one of the most popular destinations in the world. Despite the city's multiple attractions, there are still hidden gems that can help families on a budget enjoy their stay. The city offers visitors options beyond the usual destinations of Times Square and Central Park...more
In the words of Nelson Mandela, "Talk to a man in a language he understands and it goes to his head. Talk to a man in his own language and it goes to his heart".
Converspeaking the local lingo will allow you to understand the sense of humor, the social dynamics, the cultural values, the religion and the way of life for the people who live in whatever country you choose to call home. It is a literal impossibility to ignore the culture of a country when you are immersed completely; it is a sink or swim mentality, where you either learn how to stay afloat or you drown...more
Somewhere above the flat highlands of South Oaxaca an old pickup with a covered cabin climbs methodically through the mountains, approaching an elevation of 2 miles above sea level. Vapors rising off the road mingle with passing clouds as the driver navigates hundreds of winding turns on his way to the next town. Looking out the back from under the tarp, two travelers catch glimpses of the green ridged mountains sloping downward, giving way to the plains below.
Through the slatted light of the late afternoon sun passing through pine trees, two powerful columns of clouds are seen looming over the mountains, the entire sky infused with a golden hue in the failing light. Finally, at a single fork in the highway, the truck slows down and the travelers hop out. A small town is introduced by a few small shops and restaurants, decorated with colorful paint and adorned with toadstool mushrooms. This is San Jose del Pacifico...more
A small Andean city of about 1000,000 people, Ayacucho is set in the Southern Central Sierra region of Peru. The city is set at an altitude of about 2,000 meters, nestled between majestic mountain peaks. Though this city is breathtakingly beautiful, its history is tragic.
During Peru's bloody Internal Conflict, this city was the base of the Maoist-Marxist terrorist group "Shining Path". The city and the surrounding area as a whole suffered extensive damage, numerous casualties, and an immense collective trauma, with civilians caught in the crossfire between terrorists and the government troops using brutal tactics to suppress them...more
To say that Brazil is big would be an understatement. The country is, in fact, huge, sprawling across a diverse chunk of South America and occupying half of the continent's landmass. It's diversity is perhaps its most remarkable characteristic. From towering skyscrapers to beautiful beaches to stretches of virgin Amazon jungle, This country can best be described as a pastiche of places all amassed into one beautiful and fascinating country. If you're considering planning a Brazilian adventure, check out this list of top six must-dos...more
A melting pot of Asian, Andean, and European cultures, Peru's capitol city features a culinary landscape unlike any other. It is easy to eat your way through this city--the food is as diverse as it is delicious and from street vendors to Gaston Acurio's famous restaurants, there is great food to be found at every price point. Here are the top five foods to try when you're there...more
Situated on the far western edge of Argentina at the foothills of the eastern Andes, Mendoza is technically a desert town. Though, it's anything but barren. Water courses through the city's many aquecinas, or irrigation ditches, imbuing it with life and energy. Mendoza is small---its population is roughly 120,000 people---but it is lively, characterized by a bustling nightlife, great food, and of course, fantastic wine.
All over the Mendoza is synonymous with world-class vines and wine. Home to roughly 800 vineries, the Mendoza region accounts for roughly two-thirds of Argentina's wine production. So if you're interested in wine tastings and vineyards, Mendoza is the perfect destination...more
Sofia food markets are one of the selling points of the capital of Bulgaria...above and beyond the history, the location at the foot of Vitosha Mountain (seen above), the climate, the beer, wine and rakia...is the food. Birthplace to yogurt as the rest of the world knows it, as well as some of the freshest produce you've ever tasted, you'll be hard pressed to walk more than a couple of city blocks without running into an open food market offering up local produce. ..more
In the summer of 2010, I had the privilege to travel to Playa Caletas, Costa Rica for 10 days and help out with a sea turtle restoration project. Although I was to be working and volunteering throughout my trip, the beauty of my surroundings and my extraordinary experiences made me feel as if it were purely a vacation. Costa Rica, I came to realize, was as beautiful as advertised.
In the late afternoon I came to the beach, located on the Pacific coast in the Northwest corner of the country. Upon my arrival, I encountered nature immediately: howling monkeys swung from the trees, iguanas darted in and out of the semi-permanent camp where the workers lived, and large crabs---some the size of softballs---moved stealthily around the tents, avoiding humans and searching for food. At first I didn't fully grasp the fact that all of these animals were in no way domesticated, that they were the property of the Earth alone...more
Located near Cusco, Peru's Valle Sagrado, or Sacred Valley, was once the heartland of the sprawling Incan Empire. Bordered by Calco and Lamy, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the Incas appreciated this beautiful expanse of land for its special geographical qualities, fertile soil, and climactic variation. Well suited for agriculture, the valley was a principal center of corn production at the zenith of the Incan Empire and home to a thriving population...more
Colombia literary achievements are many and it has often been said that Colombia is the world's most literary country. The Peruvian poet Rocio Silva Santestiban once pointed out that while most countries put the faces of politicians on their currency, Colombian currency proudly displays the faces of famous Colombian writers. Silva Santestiban believes this to be the hallmark of a truly literary society and she certainly has a point. With beautiful beaches, modern cities, and a troubled historical past, Colombia is a diverse and fascinating place, home to many...more
The views from the rim of Peru's Colca Canyon are nothing short of astonishing. The 13,650 foot canyon carved out by a river of the same name is situated in southern Peru along the edge of the Andes, about 160 miles northwest of Arequipa. The canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon---it's actually the second deepest canyon in the world, only a bit shallower than its neighbor, the Cotahausi Canyon. The surrounding landscape is beautiful, riveted by Incan terraces and dotted by snow-capped mountain peaks, and the canyon itself is full of ancient history, old ruins, and rich cultural traditions...more
Sofia is a history lover's city, and if you are someone who enjoys burying your nose in various cathedrals, subways, ruins and tunnels that honeycomb the streets and below, you'll certainly be set for months - if not years - of discovery. With Thracian, Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman to choose from, there's certainly a wealth of historical layers to peel off.
But if you are someone who enjoys the outdoors, Sofia offers you plenty of alternate routes into what really sets Bulgaria apart from the numerous other European countries you could choose from: the natural environment. Bulgarians are proud of their country's natural beauty, and most people are out of the city and into the surrounding countryside on the weekends, exploring the beauty of their country and enjoying picnics, hikes, camping treks and beyond...more
Glimpse of Cartagena
Situated along Colombia's tropical Caribbean coastline, Cartagena de Indias is one of Colombia's most beautiful cities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena is a maze of cobbled streets and colorful colonial architecture, full of great cuisine and home to a vibrant nightlife. The setting of many famous works of Colombian literature, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, this Colombian city has been inspiring writers and artist alike for generations. If you're planning a trip to the lovely Cartagena, here's what you should know...more
Ecuador is a land of stunning geographical diversity, from desolate Andean highlands to lush Amazon jungle to bustling cityscapes of Quito. There's much to do and see while in this country. Be sure to budget enough time for these highlights.
Venezuela has Andean Peaks, a dense Amazonian rainforest, and the longest stretch of tropical Caribbean coastline in South America, so it's as beautiful as it is varied, full of South American treasures and unique experiences. If you're planning a trip through this country be sure not to miss these highlights.
Driving in Sofia:
If you own a car or want to rent a car you can drive yourself, but you should understand in advance that the streets in and around Sofia are a nightmare for Western drivers. This is a city that is millennia old and it was not designed with traffic in mind, which means many of the old streets are first and foremost too narrow for cars, and secondly they spiral in and out and jog this way and that without any apparent order, and there aren't any significantly visible street signs.
Plus, on top of that, there isn't a grid system for Sofia, so the streets are named randomly and there's no order to how things work. This can be potentially impossible to navigate if you are a first-time driver in the city...more
The fourth largest city in Bolivia, Cochabamba takes its name from the Quechan words gucha and pampa, meaning "lake" and "plain". The beautiful city is situated in the Andean valley of the same name and is known as the land of eternal spring, with balmy temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's year round. This temperate, semi-arid climate means that it offers an ideal growing season.
In fact, the valley is known as the granary of Bolivia. Agricultural production in the region includes grains, potatoes, coffee, sugar cane, cocoa beans, tobacco and fruit. And of course, Cochabamba's location in the center of an idyllic means that natural beauty abounds. It's a prime spot for outdoor activities like rafting, hiking, and trekking. All in all, it's a beautiful place offering much to see and do. So you don't miss anything be sure to take these valuable tips into consideration while you're planning your trip...more
Peru's Paracas Peninsula is an impressive piece of land, the point where endless golden sand dunes meet a faint, blue desert sky and a deep cerulean sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the peninsula is home their famous National Reservation , the only marine reserve of its kind in Peru. The peninsula was once the base of the ancient culture the area is named for, which thrived roughly 2500 years ago and today it's known for its beautiful wildlife, ancient ruins, and spectacular red sand beaches...more
Home to thousands of miles of pristine Caribbean coast and tucked faraway from tourist crowds, Venezuela is a great place to hit the beach. Whether you're looking for deep-sea snorkeling adventure or simply want to kick back in a hammock and bathe in the sun, Venezuela is the perfect spot for a beach vacation.
Los Roques: A stunning, tropical archipelago just off the Venezuelan coastline, Los Roques is a collection of island, cays and islets spread across roughly forty-square kilometers in the Caribbean directly north of La Guairá. The majority of the archipelago's main islands have an atoll structure, characterized by two external barriers formed by coral reefs and an inner lagoon with sandy shallows...more
Tipping in Cancun is also part of the culture in Mexico. The people are very generous, despite making what many Westerners consider a very low amount of money; they will often offer to buy you a beer or the like even if it means spending a portion of their daily paycheck. They will also offer to feed you, even though they barely have enough to feed themselves.
Once you get to know the people who are the real Mexicans, you see far more than what is portrayed on the Western news where all they talk about is the drug cartels in the northern part of the country and the taxi drivers who try and scam everyone out of extra money (which happens in every city around the world) ...more
When you think of South America, Paraguay probably isn't the first country to come to mind. But though it is off the beaten path this diverse country is full of hidden gems. Check out this list of unique vacation ideas.
The smallest Spanish-speaking country in the entire continent, Uruguay typically isn't at the forefront of destinations when you are considering South American vacations. But though it might be small this country is anything but boring. It's jam-packed with fascinating things to see and do.
Montevideo is Uruguay's capitol and cosmopolitan center. Home to roughly half of the country's population, this city is culturally diverse, enjoying numerous social and economic connections to Europe. It is also stunningly beautiful, home to an eclectic mix of beautiful colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.
Tourist trap. Enough said. However, if you are looking for a place to buy hand-crafted goods, knick-knacks and tourist goodies for your friends and families, this is the only place in Cancun to consider. The prices are high if you pay face value, but if you know how to negotiate you can always walk away with a good deal.
Personally, I would recommend avoiding the restaurants in the area unless you are absolutely starving, simply because they charge triple or quadruple the rates you will find if you walk two streets over outside the perimeter of the market. Tourist trap, remember? These people make a living off of tourists who are worn out from their exploration of the market, too much so to walk down one of the side streets and find a little local tienda serving the same food for a fraction of the price...more
Driving Argentina...National Route 40, often simply abbreviated as Ruta 40, extends from the northern tip of Argentina to the tip of Patagonia. Running parallel to jagged, white-tipped Andean peaks this highway is one of the longest in the entire world, winding through 20 national parks, across 18 rivers, and over 27 mountain passes. Roughly 3,100 miles long, the highway begins at sea level and rises to a staggering 16,400 feet before making its downward descent again.
If you're looking to explore a wild Argentina, a country of vast open spaces far-flung from standard tourist destinations, there is no better option than this mythical road to nowhere...more
Bocas Del Toro is Central America's best-kept secret. While most travelers in search of Central American beach vacations make a beeline straight for Costa Rica, neighboring Bocas is much cheaper and much less crowded. In other words, you'll never have to fight off a hoard of tourists for a prime spot on a beach. In fact, you will likely have miles of pristine, white sand beaches and beautiful, cerulean Caribbean all to yourself.
The stunning Panamanian province spreads roughly 4,643 square kilometers across ten main islands, fifty cays, and approximately 200 inlets. From sea kayaking to snorkeling to deep sea diving, it is a water lover's paradise. It has attracted a plethora of visitors over the years, since Columbus first landed on the islands in 1502. All in all, the islands are the perfect recipe for a tranquil beach getaway. And as an added bonus, Panama is conveniently situated outside the hurricane belt, so you don't have to worry about it raining on your parade...more
Taxis in Cancun: While public transportation is the best option when traveling around the heart of Cancun, sometimes you need to get somewhere in a hurry, such as when it's raining. Or you might need the luggage space for a heavy grocery run or when heading out to the airport, or as already mentioned, just to avoid the rain. In either case, taxis are readily available throughout the city, but there are right ways and wrong ways to use them...and get ripped off if you aren't careful.
Taxis in Cancun are affordable, and they can be found anywhere, anytime. Unless it is the dead of night on a backwater alleyway, you can generally find one within 30 seconds of needing one. Simply hail them from the side of the street with a wave of your hand. Most drivers will honk lightly and flash their lights at you if they see you standing on the side of the street and they are empty, or you just wave one down when you need it...more
Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia. It's historic, edgy, and utterly breathtaking. The metropolis of 2.4 million is situated within the picturesque Aburra Valley in the northern reaches of the Andes. The city is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks on all four sides and with moderate temperatures year-round, it is known as the city of eternal spring.
While the city does have a checkered past it has recently been given a new lease on life thanks to innovative social and political policies. If you've been contemplating a Medellin excursion now is the time to visit. The city is flourishing and with an influx of visitors it's rapidly becoming one of Latin America's hottest tourist attractions...more
Costa Rica...pristine, white sand beaches, tropical heat, deep-blue seas, and amazing surf breaks. If you're looking for the perfect beach vacation, this is the place to find it. With a stable democratic government, this Central American nation is as safe as it is beautiful and these days the country is attracting a steady stream of international tourists.
Tourist hotspots abound on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts but if you're looking for a slice of beach that is tranquil and quiet you'll find that much of the coastline remains untouched. Whatever it is you're looking for, you'll likely find it here. From cosmopolitan tourist meccas to dusty beach hamlets check out the best of Costa Rica's beaches...more
My wife and I took a 3-day trip to the country of Nicaragua in June of 2013; 72 hours was simply not enough time to capture all that a city---much less an entire country---has to offer. Still, we were able to enjoy a couple of locations in this beautiful Central American country.
We got to the old colonial town in the middle of a slate-gray rain storm with angry clouds. The rain started and stopped, falling heavily and intermittently for the rest of the afternoon. Despite the wetness of the day, the activity of the bustling town was not deterred---tourists roamed the cobbled streets, vendors announced their wares, and taxis moved quickly down the narrow alleys branching out from the town square, a quaint park surrounded by lush trees...more
When it comes to Mexican food or classical eats in Cancun, you can opt for street food, the typical comida rapida, a menu del dia type of place, or you can spring for the Yucatan specials where the fares are high but the food is unique. After a few years in the city, the following are three solid options representing the best of each type...more
South of the skyscrapers and traffic of the Chilean capitol, Santiago, you will find what seems like a totally different country. Southern Chile is remote and wild, characterized by landscapes of wind-swept plains, cerulean highland lakes, and snow-capped Andean peaks. If you're looking for an adventure, you are guaranteed to find it here. Be sure not to miss the sublime sights listed below...more
Bahia is Brazil's fourth most populous state after Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and is a true Brazilian gem with its lush array of sapphire jungles, cerulean rivers, and indigo seas. Settled by the Portuguese in 1549, this area has a rich and fascinating history. The zone was a world center of sugar cultivation from the 16th to 18th centuries and today a number of picturesque, historic towns from this era dot the province's countryside.
The natural beauty of the region has long attracted celebrity guests; Charles Darwin even passed through here on his infamous Beagle voyage. If you're planning on hitting up the Bahia for a spectacular vacation, be sure to keep the following in mind...more
Beyond the sandy beaches and busy nightclubs, Miami has a hidden gem that many travelers miss. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens were built by James Deering, and they are often overlooked by visitors in Florida. The historic home and gardens offer an incredible escape from a busy city life in Miami. The name is often shortened to simply Vizcaya. The home remains open all year and provides an interesting look at Italian architecture and art. Built in the 1900's, this museum is a beautiful rendition of the previous centuries.
It is open every day of the year except for major holidays. The admission fees are $18 for adults and $6 for children who are 6 to 12. If you are a member of the National Trust, then you can get an additional $2 discount off admission. The museum offers free parking to visitors...more
A Need For Income
If you take a look at the vast majority of travel bloggers, they generally have some type of a "job" apart from their blog and travel brand. While many leverage their travel blog as a means to earn more, most start off with some type of location-independent income source: graphic design, freelance writing, consulting, an Airbnb property back home, day trading; the list goes on.
Individual results vary, but as a general rule most full-time travel bloggers spent around two years building up their community and the traffic necessary to warrant sponsorships and advertising deals to leverage "free" travel. Before any of us arrived at this point there was a lot of spending involved, especially in relation to transportation, food, accommodations, and the gear necessary to take high-quality photos, record high-quality video and pay for the platforms that host our escapades: websites, social media sites and beyond...more
Shakespeare made Verona immortal with his "Romeo and Juliet" tragedy. However, many visitors completely miss the hidden gem of Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore in Verona. This beautiful church is rumored to be the inspiration for the crypt in Shakespeare's famous play.
The Basilica is also known as Basilica di San Zeno or the San Zeno cathedral. It is often easy for tourist to miss because Vernon's impressive architecture hides the church. Compared to some of the other buildings, the Romanesque church is easy to ignore. However, tourist who do not enter San Zeno will be missing out on the incredible interior...more
Lima Literary Guide
Lima, Peru's capitol of 10 million people, is more than great food, beautiful architecture, and stunning Pacific views. Believe it or not, Lima is a city with a long and rich literary tradition. A great number of important pieces of colonial literature were written here.
This includes a number of famous Peruvian writers who have called Lima home, from Jose Arguedas to Mario Vargas Llosa to Alonso Cueto, and the city has in turn inspired their work. If you're planning a trip to Lima, be sure to take a look at some of the city's most literary sites...more
Looking for gorgeous beaches, lush vegetation, tropical weather and Caribbean flair but don't want to battle hoards of tourists at an all-inclusive resort? No worries, there are plenty of destinations in the Caribbean situated out of the average tourist's line of sight. You can feel free to interact with locals, take a solitary swim, and enjoy long walks through the jungle.
There's no place quite like Cuba; it's beautiful, surprising, and totally magnificent. Of course there are a number of quaint beach towns on the island, but Havana is a classic, and it's totally worth the visit. It's the Caribbean's largest city and the most vibrant, full of amazing food, excellent salsa music, colonial palaces, and vintage cars. The US is gradually easing restrictions on travel to the country, which could mean many more US tourists in the near future. So if you've been thinking about a Cuba vacation for a while, you should probably get there now, before everyone else does...more
Antigua is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in Central America, and with good reason. It is a beautiful place which celebrates rich cultural traditions and boasts a perfect climate (that is, of course, if one enjoys 70- and 80-degree temperatures with tropical air). The name “Antigua,” the Spanish for “old,” is fitting for a city which seems to have been designed around the ruins and ancient buildings it hosts. Travelers can experience a modern-day touristic experience while walking amidst the ghosts of past culture...more
The town of San Cristobal de las Casas is located high in the mountains of Chiapas, a state in Southern Mexico. Its cold nights and fresh, cool mountain air do not lend themselves easily to a stereotypical Mexican scene—a vision more likely to include white sandy beaches, tropical air, and a bottle of tequila—however, San Cristobal exudes Mexican culture in its own unique way. It’s a must-see for anyone exploring the Southern side of Mexico.
When my wife and I arrived, we were greeted by towering
white clouds and a powerful, penetrating sun—indeed, at over a mile above sea
level, the town doesn’t enjoy a heavy-atmosphere “sun filter.” By evening and
stretching into the night, the temperature steadily dropped into cooler
temperatures which made sweaters and jackets necessary. What seemed to be a hot
and arid desert climate by day quickly changed to a wintry atmosphere by night.
Nevertheless, we joined the throngs of people already out in the streets,
enjoying the night life...more
5 Mexican Highlights...from ancient Mayan ruins to pristine white sand beaches to lush jungle vines dangling into indigo cenotes, natural beauty abounds in Mexico. So what are the country's ultimate spots of natural beauty? Check out this list:
Isla Mujeres is arguably the most beautiful of Quintana Roo's islands, boasting turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and year round sun. The island was once sacred to the Mayan God of childbirth and medicine and its name actually means "Island of Women". It is the epitome of serenity as you won't find any traffic here...more
In 1532 after defeating his brother Huáscar in a bloody war for control of the Incan Empire, Atahualpa embarked on an arduous journey from Quito to the Incan capital of Cusco in order to claim the royal throne. He eventually stopped in Cajamarca with his 80,000 soldiers for a bit of rest. At the same time, however, Francisco Pizarro and his 168 men were marching from Piura towards the interior of the Incan Empire, demanding that the Incan vice-royals that they encountered along the way yield control to the Spanish crown or be murdered. ...more
Isla del Sol Inca table...photo by Brad Bernard
Latin American Ruins
Latin America was once home to a number of thriving, pre-Colombian empires. Spectacular ruins of these great civilizations now scatter the continent, from the misty jungles of Colombia to the mystical waters of Lake Titicaca. Catch a glimpse of the fascinating past at one of these impressive ruins.
Isla del Sol:
According to the Incan Creation Myth, at Isla del Sol the God Viracocha, the creator of the universe, stepped out of the indigo waters of Lake Titicaca and created the land, the sky, the moon, the stars, and the sun. Today, the remnants of over eighty distinct structures can be found on the island. While most of these ruins date back the Incan period (circa the 15th century) archeologists have found evidence to suggest that these islands were inhabited as far back as third Millennium B.C. ...more
Ebullient, riotous, and utterly enthralling, the tropical metropolis of Havana truly is one of the world’s great urban centers. When in Havana, don’t miss the following highlights.
Visit El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Cuba has rich and varied artistic legacy. In part because of Soviet influence, the country is one of the premiere training grounds for ballerinas in the entire world. The country also has a deep affinity for the fine arts. El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a spectacular showcase of Cuban artistic expression, housing everything from ancient ceramics to contemporary pop art. Keep an eye out for the works of Guillermo Collazo, considered to be the first great Cuban artist, as well as the works of Raúl Martínez, a renowned master of 1960s Cuban pop art. ...more
The Yucatán Peninsula...it’s the land of white sand beaches, sparkling turquoise seas, craggy Mayan temples, bright and vibrant Mexican culture, and deep, mystical cenotes. While the high-gloss hotels of Cancun and Cozumel are the region’s biggest tourist magnets, much of the Yucatán’s beauty lies off the standard tourist path. If you’re planning a trip to this gorgeous peninsula you won’t want to miss out on these highlights...more
Set in a valley surrounded by gentle hills, the city of Bath, England is definitely one of the prettiest cities to explore. Soft mellow golden stone has been used for all the buildings, creating a very sunny, welcoming sight to visitors.
People have been coming here for centuries, drawn by the iron rich mineral waters. The Romans were the first to construct a large complex of baths and much this still remains. Stone soldiers stand guard high above the Great Bath. Stairs lead down to the original Roman pavement. A soft mist drifted upwards from the warm greenish water. The constantly moving water creates fantastic flickering reflections of the surrounding columns and the sky above...more
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