Category Archives: South America

Your Quick Travel Guide to Cancún, Mexico

Cancun is a Mexican metropolis situated on Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea. Popular for luxury resorts and a vibrant nightlife, Cancun is most well known for its white sandy beaches.

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These spectacular sandy stretches promise a peaceful and relaxing time. We have a few handy tips and suggestions for you.

Best Time to Explore

The climate throughout the year is sunny and temperate. However, it can be humid in summers. The occasional tropical storms bring extended rainfall. December to April is the peak season when the weather is nearly perfect for checking out the tourist sites. Though the room rates are higher, they’re within one’s reach. On an average, the 3-star and 4-star hotels cost less than $130 per night.

Accommodation Options

Cancún presents luxury, mid-ranged, and budget hotels for all! The upscale accommodation options include Villa del Palmar Cancun, NIZUC Resort & Spa, Hyatt Zilara, and Secrets The Vine Cancun. Those who intend to spend significantly less have options such as Hotel Imperial las Perlas, Cancún Clipper Club, Salvia Cancún etc. After all, one can save a substantial amount of money by opting for reasonably-priced hotels.

Food

Mexican cuisine is memorable! It has an apt blend of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking style supplemented with European constituents. One can enjoy lip-smacking Mexican dishes at fabulous restaurants such as La Habichuela Sunset, Hacienda Sisal, and Hacienda El Mortero must be given a shot! They will undoubtedly appeal to foodies.

Public Transportation

The best way to go around the metropolis is by buses. They’re convenient, inexpensive, and easily available. Hotel Zone is a good area to catch a bus! Passengers can pay with US Dollars or Mexican Pesos. Taxis run in different parts of Cancún, except from the airport. Haggling over the rate may be deemed necessary. Furthermore, travellers should check that the taxi driver has an ID card with driver’s name, licence, and photo. Cancún International Airport has an independent taxi system.

Best Places and Activities

In Cancún, tourist attractions like Parque Las Palapas, Mercado 28, Avenida Tulum, Malecon Tajamar and Plaza Malecon Americas are fine places to visit. For thrill-seekers, there’s an assortment of fun and rejuvenating things to do. Amongst many, some are zip lining, snorkelling, horse riding, and rappelling. By trying out these activities, tourists can truly realise the wonders of land and water offered by the city.

Luxury Resorts for Discerning Travellers Visiting Cancun, Mexico

cancun

The luxury resorts in Cancun assure a rich memorable experience. In fact, this Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea is like a veritable paradise of luxury resorts.

cancunnWe have mentioned just a handful of such properties here

Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort

Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort offers the perfect blend of luxury of comfort. Its 214 elegant rooms and suites have fine elements of sophistication desired by prospective guests. Amenities and facilities include Wi-Fi, fully-stocked minibar, air-conditioning, laptop-size safe, clock radio with alarm, and coffee-maker. Stay a day here and you’ll naturally be tempted to spend more time at this lovely haven.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

This peaceful haven allows guests to enjoy the marvellous views of Cancun’s white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Its Mayan-inspired spa will relax your mind, body, and soul like no other. In JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, the spacious guestrooms offer the convenience of home.

InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort

Step into the InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort for an unforgettable getaway. You can rest with a massage, while being fanned by the ocean breeze and sample its signature Sunset Presidente cocktail under the golden sun. The ones with more active tastes may go parasailing, kayaking, or jet skiing on the calm turquoise sea. Furthermore, at dusk, you can even head to the town for a bit of dancing.

Paradisus Cancun

Foodies are in for a treat at Paradisus Cancun – a resort with exquisite rooms and suites! There are sixteen eating venues – nine restaurants and seven bars, specifically. To name a few of them: Tempo by Martin Berasategui, Mole Restaurant, Fuego Restaurant, Naos Restaurant, Toji Bar, Avenue Bar, and Red Lounge. With so many options available, you can relish a wide variety of cuisines, snacks, and beverages across different settings.

Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancún All Inclusive Adults Only

Book your stay at Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancún All Inclusive Adults Only for an unforgettable experience. This chic accommodation is designed to delight the senses. Couples will have a romantic time as they can just be themselves with absolute freedom!  It’s ‘a world of sensations, where fantasy and the sublime welcome you’. Sounds suggestive? You bet, it is!

Take a look at the Natural Wonders of Argentina

Argentina is a huge country with a unique blend of endless natural and man-made attractions. Indeed, it is blessed with a wide variety of natural bounty, which has made it a favourite destination with travellers visiting South America. Discover Argentine landscape of frozen glaciers, sky-scraping mountain peaks, peaceful vineyards, breathtaking waterfalls, thick forests and harsh deserts. Let’s explore some of the most popular natural wonders of this country so that you don’t miss these in your next visit to Argentina.

Iguazú Falls

 Iguazú Fallsby Ross HuggettCC BY

Iguazú Falls by Ross Huggett CC BY

Iguazú Falls is undoubtedly the crown jewel of the natural wonders of Argentina. The falls is located close to the Argentine borders of Paraguay and Brazil. The Iguazú Falls is part of the Iguazú National Park on the Argentine side and is considered to be one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, much taller and wider than Niagara Falls of the USA. Travellers can enjoy thrilling and awe-inspiring views of the falls and surrounding forests from a network of well-maintained walkways, observation decks and viewing platforms.

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is known as the southernmost city in the world and is nestled between the southern Andes and the Beagle Channel. It is a popular base for adventures of land and sea into the region called the End of the World, which includes Antarctica cruises and glacier explorations. Travellers can enjoy some fantastic winter sports and spot rare and exotic wildlife.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Explore the huge Perito Moreno Glacier, a part of the Los Glaciares National Park. Nature lovers can observe beautiful sights from the well-maintained viewing platforms and trails. Most travellers opt for boat tours to explore the glacier. Some lucky travellers have even been able to witness large pieces of ice breaking from the glaciers! Be adventurous enough to explore the glacier on a foot or just take a helicopter flight – the choice is yours!

Ibera Wetlands

Explore Argentina’s Ibera Wetlands, which are considered to be the world’s second-largest wetlands. It is an ecological preserve, which houses numerous native South American animals including anacondas, armadillos, caimans, capybaras, howler monkeys and over 350 rare species of birds. Travellers can discover the gems of Ibera Wetlands by hiking, horseback riding or by kayaking.

Bariloche

Do you want to visit Switzerland in Argentina? Then, head straight for San Carlos de Bariloche. The city is located on the foothills of the Andes and seems to reflect Swiss-based landscapes, atmosphere and chocolate shops. Bariloche is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes. Apart from sightseeing, travellers can enjoy outdoor activities including skiing, water sports, trekking, cycling, rafting and climbing.

Are these natural wonders incentives enough to book flights to Argentina? These are just a few of the many more spectacular natural wonders that adorn the country. Travel to the amazing country to explore these natural wonders and its rich culture and much more.

The Most Popular Annual Festivals in Mexico

Planning to visit Mexico any time soon? If you have not booked your tickets yet, it would be a nice idea to visit during the festive season.

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The already-vibrant destination turns livelier for one and all! What more could you ask for? In this article, we bring to you some of the most popular annual festivals celebrated in the United Mexican States. Let’s go through them now!

Son Jarocho

Son Jorocho is a regional folk musical style of Veracruz – a stretched-out Mexican state bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The fest features a brilliant and unique mixture of indigenous, Spanish, and African elements. The rhythmic songs focus on evergreen topics like love, sailors, nature, and cattle breeding. The verses are deliberately made humorous to entice viewers further. Jarana, requinto jarocho, harp, and pandero are the instruments used in Son Jarocho.

Fiestas de Octubre

Fiestas de Octubre presents excellent dance performances, theatre workshops, painting, and other art forms. Every year, a new theme is chosen and all the activities and images are based on it. The fun doesn’t end here! There are thrilling rides and Mexican food too. This fiesta commemorates the traditional and the true spirit of the state – Jalisco. Fiestas de Octubre is believed to be one of the most important festivals of Mexico and shouldn’t be missed!

Festival Internacional Cervantino

Guanajuato‘s Festival Internacional Cervantino features performers from more than 90 different countries in plays, concerts, theatre and dance productions, art exhibitions, and films. As the fiesta is named after a Spanish writer called ‘Miguel de Cervantes’, it highlights artistic creations in Spanish language. It’s a global festival, which encourages discovery and exchange.

Festival de Mexico

With an outstanding reputation, the Festival de Mexico is Latin America’s leading international art festival. It has hosted pioneering international and Mexican events in diverse areas such as dance, music, theater, visual arts, opera, and multimedia. Famous personalities like Diego el Cigala, Peter Brook, Rubén Blades and Fred Frith have graced the occasion with their presence.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead is over a century old festival that’s commemorated to remember and honour the ones who have passed away. At homes, people create altars for them and may allow guests to check it out. Graves and graveyards are also cleaned. They stay up all night in the cemetery chatting and sharing stories of their ancestors. Skilled musicians play favourite songs of the dead.

Loads of Fun awaits you at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

The world-renowned event for hot air balloon enthusiasts is just around the corner. The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico will host the world’s largest ballooning event from 1st October, 2016 to 9th October, 2016. Witness the sunrise and sunset sky in New Mexico complimented by colourful and vibrant hot air balloons.

balloon

What is this Fiesta?

The city will welcome October with merriment at The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016. The event attracts enthusiasts and tourists from across the globe. It seems like a scene just out of a motion picture with a spectrum of vibrant hot air balloons flying high. It is a great opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture beautiful landscapes and more. Undoubtedly, the fiesta is counted amongst the most photographed events in the world.

What’s in the Kitty for Travellers?

It welcomes people of all ages to engage in fun and excitement. Interestingly, visitors here get to be a part of the action on ground with the teams while hundreds of hot air balloons are prepared to sail through the air. Cherish celebrations, events, performances, and competitions throughout the fiesta.

Don’t miss out on the Balloon Glow shows such as Twilight Twinkle Glow, Balloon Glow, and Night Magic Glow. Enjoy the breathtaking sites of giant hot air balloons at night when all balloons are inflated with burners at the same time, making it a stunning sight.

Where will the action take place?

The nine-day event will be held at Balloon Fiesta Park in the north of Alameda Boulevard. It is a big field where hundreds of hot air balloons are launched and thousands of enthusiastic visitors are welcomed.

Event Schedule

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016 will start at dawn on 1st October with Dawn Patrol Show and Laser Light Show. It will be followed by Krispy Kreme Morning Glow around 6:30 a.m. Categorised under Morning Session and Evening Session, visitors are offered a vivacious continuum of shows and stalls. The third day will be celebrated as Propane Day, fourth will be Pepsi day, and the sixth day will be dedicated to kids.

Weekend rush is always in excess than expected here, so travellers are advised to arrive at the earliest, around 4-4:30 am. The gates open for visitors at 4: 30 in the morning and 3:30 in the evening.

Where to get Tickets?

You may buy tickets online from the official website of the balloon fiesta, www.balloonfiesta.com/guest-guide/ticketing-information. One can also purchase General Admission tickets at the entry gate on any day of the event.

Fascinating Things to See and Do in South America

South America, a continent in the western hemisphere, has stunning landscapes in the form of snow-laden mountains, dense jungles, and hot deserts.

Angel-Falls-Venezuela

Countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador have a charm of their own and are visited by countless travellers every year. Those who are planning to explore Latin America must take a look at the fascinating things to see and do mentioned below.

Take a ‘Selfie’ next to Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was made by French sculptor Paul Landowski and constructed by a Brazilian engineer named ’Heitor da Silva Costa’, in association with Albert Caquot – a French engineer. The statue is 98 feet tall, while the outstretched arms span 92 feet. It is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city and a hotspot for taking selfies!

Angel Falls – Venezuela

Angel Falls, the highest uninterrupted waterfall of the world, plunges 3,212 feet, with the longest single drop of 2,648 feet from the top of a hill. Angel Falls is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls. It is locally known as ‘Kerepakupai-merú’ meaning ‘falls from the deepest place’. Jimmie Angel, a US aviator, revealed the existence of this waterfall to the outside world. Angel Falls has been named after him!

Torres del Paine – Chile

Torres del Paine is a national park, which is home to Guanacos, foxes, pumas and Chilean Huemul, Darwin’s rhea, Coscoroba swan, black-necked swan, and Magellanic woodpecker. The park has seven documented species of Orchidaceae and 85 non-native plant varieties. Torres del Paine is popular among hikers and campers. The best time to visit the national park is from November to April.

Skydive in Argentina

Argentina has several drop zones for skydiving enthusiasts. They stick to the safety protocols firmly, inspiring confidence among first-timers to try out this heart-pounding and thrilling experience. Full-training is provided, however the length of training may vary depending on the drop zone. Instructions relating to safety clothing and equipment are given as well. The professional skydivers are trained, qualified, and reliable.

Sunbathe and Eat Out at the Copacabana Beach

Located in the midst of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, the Copacabana Beach is a 4 km long beach, which is visited by millions of people every year. People come here to relax under the bright sun and enjoy the lovely scenery. The beachfront features a series of kiosks, which serve everything from beverages to pizzas and seafood. You can walk up to these kiosks in just your swimwear.

Explore the Offbeat Attractions of Mexico

The most populated Spanish speaking nation, Mexico has enticed travellers with its cultural hotspots, historical remnants, and sun-soaked beaches. The list doesn’t end there! The destination also has a number of offbeat attractions that promise a pretty satiating experience. We have enlisted some of these ‘lesser-known’ places here for you.

Great Pyramid of Cholula

Great-Pyramid-of-Cholula

Also termed as the Tlachihualtepetl, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid in the world today. Located in Puebla – Mexico, it is actually a temple honouring the God named ‘Quetzalcoatl’. In the pre-Hispanic period, the Great Pyramid of Cholula was a vital religious and mythical centre.

Mercado de Sonora

Want to buy things that appear otherworldly or ‘dark’? Head to Mercado de Sonora right away! Often called the market of witches, the Mercado de Sonora offers animal skins, bird wings, skulls, skeletons, horns, teeth, herbs, leaves, and pottery. Established in Mexico City, the Mercado de Sonora is visited by innumerable inhabitants when they are preparing for the ‘Day of the Dead’ – a holiday celebration for remembering friends or family members who have passed away.

Las Pozas

Check out this sculpture garden for an extraordinary experience. Situated in Xilitla, Las Pozas was made by Edward James, an unconventional English poet and artist, and a supporter of the Surrealist movement. Earlier it was an abode of spectacular orchids and exotic animals. However, now it is a fascinating sculpture garden.

La Pascualita

It’s time to not just see but observe the dead! La Pascualita is a popular, lifelike bridal mannequin in a shop located at Chihuahua. If rumours are to be believed, it is not a mannequin but a perfectly preserved corpse of the previous owner’s daughter. Apparently, she breathed her last due to a black widow spider bite before her wedding. La Pascualita has been in this shop for more than 80 years!

Biblioteca Vasconcelos

The Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a ‘megalibrary’ in Mexico City. This temple of knowledge is known for its size and materials. There are five distinct libraries here dedicated to the country’s great intellectuals like Ali Chumacero, Jaime García Terrés, José Luis Martínez, Carlos Monsiváis, and Antonio Castro Leal. Book lovers will find Biblioteca Vasconcelos truly fascinating.

Enjoy Festa Junina in Brazil

The renowned and flamboyant Festa Junina (June Festival) will soon knock the doors. The colourful celebrations are a treat to experience in the scintillating country of Brazil.

Brazil

Fly down to Brazil in South America and immerse yourself in the vivacious celebrations.

What it is?

Festa Junina is in many areas of Brazil, especially in the Northeast and Southeast region. The festivity is held to honour three catholic saints; St. Anthony, St. Peter, and St. John. Interestingly, every region and state has its own style of celebrations with different traditions. Thus, Brazil provides tourists a plethora of amazing things to explore during the June festival. Enjoy experiencing unique customs and folk elements such as dance, food and dresses. Although, tourists can find the whole of Brazil steeped in festivity, the North-eastern region is most famous for it.

Dates of Commencement

This much-awaited festival of Brazil is considered a high-end traditional event that indulges everyone. Plan your itinerary accordingly to enjoy the June Festival and celebrate St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter with friendly and high-spirited locals. This year, Brazil will indulge in festivities on the following dates.

St.  Anthony – Monday, June 13, 2016
St. John – Friday, June 24, 2016
St. Peter- Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The stunning June Festival is an essential part for the country’s identity and some states observe a holiday. States such as Alagoas and Pernambuc consider a holiday on the day of St. John, whereas the day of St. Peter is also observed as state holiday in Rio Grande do Norte.

History of Festa Junino

The origins of Festa Junino are said to date back to the days of Portuguese colonisation. Delineated as an imperative traditional element of the country, it is a blend of cultures like European and Afro-Brazilian immigrant people. People in the countryside first started celebrating, which gradually spread to other parts of the country.

How it is celebrated?

Get ready to be charmed by the colourful décor all around in the month of June. Enjoy special presentations by artists. Dance performances, cultural events, food stalls and literary celebrations ensure non-stop entertainment and fun. Tourists can treat their taste buds to delicious food at hundreds of food stalls.

Popular Wineries in Mendoza – The Wine Province of Argentina

Mendoza Wine Country is a terrific place for wine connoisseurs. There are a number of unique and fine-quality wineries in the region that draw wine enthusiasts from across the globe.

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While wine might be the highlight of a holiday experience here, a number of other aspects such as history, architecture, art, and an overall beautiful ambiance do their fine bit to ensure a wholesome experience.

Mendel

Roberto de la Mota, one of the most experienced and respected winemaker of Argentina, is the star of this winery. The amazing vineyards smack of careful selection and the finest attention to details. The 100-year old winery is run by an Argentine family, whose sole aim is to produce the best, superior-quality wine. Anabelle Sielecki, the owner meticulously looked for the best wine-maker in the country and finally chose Roberto de la Mota.

Ruca Malen

Ruca Malen, established in 1999, is a fairly new and innovative winery on the stunning foothills of the Andes Mountains at Mendoza, in Argentina. It was formed as collaboration between Jacques Louis de Montalembert who was born in Burgundy and Jean-Pierre Thibaud, the previous Bodegas Chandon-Argentina CEO. Both of them shared the dream of producing the finest quality wines in Argentina. Sample some of the best wines from the cellar while sitting in the patio of the winery and enjoy stunning and encompassing views of the mountains and vineyards. We also recommend you to go for the 5-course lunch along with wine-tasting.

Domaine St. Diego

Domaine St. Diego is a small garage winery on the country road, situated next to an old church. The winery is perfect for people who like quaint rustic places. The proprietor and winemaker of this winery is associated with Mendocino terroir. Conserving and carrying forward his passion, the winery has changed and revived the ingenuity of viticulture, all around the area. Sample their handcrafted wine along with walnuts, almonds, and homemade breads.

Three Famous Dive Sites in Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, situated in the Caribbean Sea, next to the Yucatan Peninsula, has consistently been rated as one of the world’s best dive sites. One of the main reasons is the diligent conservation effort carried out on the reefs.

mexico

This also includes the conservation of 85% of dive sites in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park by the Mexican government. If you are a water sports enthusiast, we recommend, you book your flight tickets for this amazing diving paradise; home to beautiful coral reefs and a superb marine population, including various species of multi-coloured fish, nurse sharks, sea turtles and seahorses, to name a few. Have a look at our pick from the top diving sites in Cozumel.

Paradise Reef

The paradise reef in fact, consists of 3 different reefs. The maximum depth is forty-five feet. This makes it one of the most appealing diving sites for new divers who want to learn scuba diving. You will see a whole world inside the clear waters and might encounter fascinating marine creatures such as toadfish, moray eels, octopuses, balloon-shaped corals, yellowtails, angelfish, crabs and lobsters, among other creatures. Paradise Reef is popular as a night diving site which makes the whole experience dreamlike. If you have never tried it before, we recommend, this is the best place to experience your first night dive. A dive master would guide you to some of the best coves and nooks and also keep you safe.

Aerolito de Paraiso

Aerolito de Paraiso or Paradise Crater is one of Cueva Aerolito system’s three cenotes. It is situated about 5 minutes south of Cozumel and is home to a number of exotic and indigenous marine life including lobsters, sea stars and juvenile barracuda. The entrance is through the emerald green lagoon and passageways. So, both cave explorers and open-water divers will have a lot to explore.

Barge Wreck

If you are looking for something different, the Barge Wreck situated in front of the Vista Del Mar Hotel promises a new and unique adventure. The only challenge is that the level may shift from intermediate to advanced due to strong currents that are frequent from the month of November to April. The barge had sunk in 1976 and now looks like a large monolithic sea creature. You will find a large variety of sea creatures including various varieties of grouper. Taking a dive here is brilliant both during the daytime as well as the nights. Remember to carry an underwater camera to click some of the most superb photos.