The View from the Top: Most Popular Hill Stations In India

Freaked out by the monotonous schedules of everyday life? Need some leisure time away from work; devoted to rest and pleasure? There’s a matchless exit available for you to sway your desires of pleasure and adventure, amidst the lap of green vales and at high altitudes, are these exotic hill stations in India. One would love the divine view of these high valleys and plains. These hills have fascinated millions of tourists from around the globe to take hold of their nature and serenity. It is certainly difficult to take a pick out of the more than 20 mountain ranges, embracing a number of hill stations and each one promising to be tourist friendly! Here’s a glimpse of a few of them that can include your hunt for hill stations in India:

 

1. Nainital in Uttarakhand

Nainital in Uttarakhand

Photo by rajkumar1220, CC BY 2.0

 

Also cited as the Lake District of India, the hill station of Nainital impresses its visitors. Ringed by the hills, the Naini Lake attracts a lot of tourists every year. Yachting in the Lake, one can view the beauty of the city; the famous street market at one hand and the divine aura of the Naina Devi Temple at the other. The hot air balloon rides and paragliding are the attractions available for the adventure freak. The ropeway here connects Nainital to the snow-view point and is a thrilling experience.

 

2. Shillong in Meghalaya

Shillong in Meghalaya

Bara Pani at Shillong – Photo by Masrur Ashraf, CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Known as the Scotland of the East, Shillong is just a 100 kms away from Guwahati. The architecture and the food culture of this city still conveys the legacy of the British rule in India. The inspiring awe of the city of Shillong from the highest view point of the state of Meghalaya is an enriching experience. The city is a host to several lakes and waterfalls. Shillong is a home to the first golf course in India, having 18 holes within. This beautiful hill station has enormous natural caves that grab the attention of every visitor.

 

3. Matheran in Maharashtra

Matheran in Maharashtra

Photo by Harsha S, CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Away from the pollution of the motor vehicles, Matheran is the smallest hill station in India. Declared as an Eco sensitive region, there is a ban on vehicular transport in this place, which makes every traveler walk down through its streets or enjoy the beauty of this hill station taking a horse ride. With a pleasant climate almost throughout the year, Matheran is a tableland enclosed with dense forests. The journey of the toy train on the Neral-Matheran narrow gauge is a scenic experience.

 

4. Mount Abu in Rajasthan

Mount Abu in Rajasthan

Nakki lake at Mount Abu – Photo by Koshy Koshy, CC BY 2.0

 

The only hill station in the state of Rajasthan, Mount Abu is the most sought for run away from the scorching heat of both Rajasthan and Gujarat. The best way to travel across the hill station is through a hired bike. A ride to the temples, lakes and sunset point drives away all the fatigue and energizes your mind, body and soul. Known as an Oasis in the desert this hill station homes many waterfalls, lakes and evergreen forests.

 

5. Ooty in Tamil Nadu

Ooty in Tamil Nadu

A view of botanical garden Ooty – Photo by Thamizhpparithi Maari, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Also referred to as Ooacamund, this hill stations is a travelers’ paradise. Settled in the Nilgiri mountain ranges, this place pulls droves of tourists every year. The town has multitudes of parks that allows one to nose the scent of eucalyptus trees that surround the area. The wax museum of Ooty, put up in a century old bungalow and the stone house are the worth visiting spots in this hill station.

A thrilling drive through the hills of India, fulfils the wants of every holidaymaker. It not only connects you to nature through the high peaks but also allows you to interact with the creation of God in its eternal form.

Author Bio

Moving around to quench his travelling desires, Rohit has been to a lot of hill stations in India. In his search for solace in the hills, he has tagged some hill stations as a must visit for every traveler.  View more of his travel blogs at http://www.transindiatravels.com/.

Top Ten Barbados (Top Ten Things to Do and See in Barbados)

Top ten things to do and see in Barbados

Barbados is home to beautiful beaches and friendly people.  Here’s our top ten Barbados.

1. Lounge on Crane Beach.  Every beach in Barbados is deemed public property, even resort beaches.  So feel free to lounge on the beach of another hotel if you bring your own chairs and towels.  The Crane beach is protected by a reef offshore, which allows for better swimming than other East coast beaches on the island. The beach also has a big cliff and rocks on either side, making it feel more protected and secluded.

2. Sip on Rum Punch.  One sour, two sweet, three strong, four weak.  Or so the saying goes for the recipe of the signature drink of Barbados.  However, it seems every place you go likes to put their own spin on the classic so be sure to try rum punch from a variety of places to pick your favorite.

3. Tour Harrison’s Cave.  Families will find a trip to Harrison’s Cave popular with their younger members who enjoy the awe of the caves along with the tram ride to tour it.  

4. Dine on a Flying Fish Cutter with Macaroni Pie. Debatably the most popular dishes in Barbados, it is not difficult to find a flying fish cutter (known as a sandwich stateside) and macaroni pie at nearly every restaurant on the island.  It’s a quick, easy, and affordable meal that any traveler can enjoy.

5. Visit Hunte’s Gardens.  Anthony Hunte built an outstanding collection of plant species in the Bajan rainforest.  With music drifting through the air and greenery surrounding you, you will never guess you are in Barbados.

6. Bask in the Sun at Bottom Bay or Foul Bay.  Bottom Bay and Foul Bay are both secluded beaches on the East coast of Barbados.  Typically uncrowded and calm, the bays offer a perfect spot for picnics, relaxation, and plenty of trees for a reprieve from the sun.  Many locals maintain that Bottom Bay is the best beach in Barbados, but be cautious of currents and strong waves if you want to take a swim at either.

7. Lunch at Sandy Lane. The scenic resort where Tiger Woods married Elin is difficult to get a room at (and will cost you a pretty penny if you can).  However, the hotel has a restaurant overlooking its bright beach where any peon can dine with reservations. Sit back, relax and experience life as the other half lives.

8.  Sail on Cool Runnings. Swim with the sea turtles and snorkel over a shipwreck on a catamaran adventure.  The cruise has two snorkeling stops and serves drinks and lunch or dinner depending on your cruise time.  Alternatively, if you like to party, you make want to opt for the pirate ship excursion (which makes the same stops) instead.

9. Oistin’s Market.  Popular with locals and tourists alike, Oisten’s Fish Market offers lots of vendors who will cook your selection of fish right in front of you.  The Fish Fry is a particularly popular thing to do on Friday nights, with live music and tables set up to watch the sunset.

10. Visit the Bathsheba Coast.  The northeast section of the coast of Barbados offers dramatic scenery with large boulders in the ocean and striking views from cliffs.  The so called Soup Bowl is a popular spot for professional surfers, who are likely the only people prepared to withstand the rough waves famous in the area.

 

9 Things To Do in the Dominican Republic That You Can’t Miss

Dominican Top 9

With its lively culture, crystal-clear waters and immensely popular resorts the Dominican Republic has been a choice tourist destination for decades.  Whether you decide to spend your time in the historic capital of Santo Domingo or on the sandy beaches of Punta Cana, the Dominican has options for everyone.  Here are our top 9 things to do in the Dominican Republic, the second-largest Caribbean nation.

  1. 27 Charcos (27 Waterfalls)

The 27 waterfalls in Puerto Plata is a perfect activity for thrill-seekers and outdoors enthusiasts alike.  Spend the day trekking through the rainforest and sliding down the Dominican’s 27 natural waterslides (yes, giant rock formations that double as slides!)   The farther up you go, the bigger they get.  If you want to do all 27 waterfalls make sure you get there early in the day and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes you don’t mind swimming in.

  1. Boat excursion from La Romana to Isle Saona – open bar

What beats sun tanning on a beautiful catamaran with an open bar?  You can book all kinds of tours under $100 that leave from the super-trendy city of La Romana.   After that, you’ll arrive on a secluded island with a buffet, volleyball, tubing, and other fun beach activities.  Finally, the boat takes you out to a part of the ocean littered with live star fish that you get to hold and touch.

  1. Take a stroll on Bavaro Beach

With so many beaches in the northeastern part of the island, it’s hard to find time to visit all of them.  One we definitely recommend spending some time on is Bavaro Beach in Punta Canata.  We clear blue waters and moderate current, this beach is a perfect candidate for snorkeling.

  1. Get a street coconut in Santo Domingo

In the capital you’ll find throngs of street vendors selling everything from sunglasses to candy to live animals, but your best bet is to find some coconuts.  This won’t be hard – they’re virtually everywhere.  Watch them artfully slice open the fruit with a machete and enjoy some refreshing coconut water street side.

  1.   Tour Los Tres Ojos Caverns

Los Trest Ojos (The Three Eyes) is home to series of 3 lakes that are directly connected to a 50-yard limestone cave with some of the clearest waters in the world.  Many decades ago the park was open to public for swimming.  Now it’s become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.  If it looks familiar, it might because they filmed parks of Jurassic Park here.

  1.    Catedral Primada de America (America’s first cathedral)

Europe undisputedly takes the cake on historic cathedrals, but North America also has a lot to offer, including North America’s very first cathedral.  Located in the heart of the Zona Colonial, this gothic cathedral dates back to 1535.  An added plus: entrance is free to the public and includes a self-guided audio tour.

  1.   Explore Ciudad Colonial (Zona Colonial)

With a distinct European feel, this area of Santo Domingo is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike.   Zona Colonial is the oldest European settlement in North America and boasts some of the best hotels and restaurants in the city.  Be careful though: many cruise lines dock nearby and passengers flood the streets, so try not to come in the very middle of the day.

  1. Get some food at El Mason de la Cava

How many times have you eaten delectable Caribbean cuisine inside a cave?  With a unique ambiance and wide array of delicatessens, this restaurant offers up something out of the ordinary.  A perfect place for a romantic dinner, this gem has live music most nights.

  1. Drink a pina colada on the water

This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  Grab a drink and enjoy your trip in the Dominican!

Travel Funds: Snap App Review (Earn money from your groceries) [Infographic]

Looking to grow your travel fund?  The Travel Fund series reviews apps and websites that will let you earn money for the things you already do everyday.  We promise to give you an honest review of money earning sites, and to let you know if something is worth your time or not.

Snap App Review

The Snap App is brought to you by the popular deals site, Groupon.  With Snap you can earn money back on your groceries by snapping a picture of your receipt with qualifying items on it.  For example, I can currently get $0.50 back for buying a can of Blue Diamond almonds of any variety, no matter the price I paid or where I bought them from.  Once you earn $20.00 you can cash out for a check. In the past 6 weeks I have earned $6.50, so at this rate I should hit $20 around 4 months.

I take a minute or two after each trip to the grocery store to scroll through the list of offers on Snap to see if anything I bought qualifies. If it does, I simply select the offer(s) and then take a picture of my receipt. That’s it.  It only takes a minute of your time but it’s a toss up if something you bought will qualify or not.  Their offers change frequently.  For example, a few weeks ago they offered money back on produce such as (brussel sprouts and bananas) which typically makes up the bulk of my groceries, so I got a good amount of money back on those items.  However, currently they are only offering cash back on specific brand name items (such as the Blue Diamond almonds, Dole Dippers, and Pepperidge Farm rolls).

Verdict: Download
Overall I would say Snap is worth downloading and keeping on hand especially if you use other grocery apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51.  Sometimes the selection isn’t great but scrolling through the offer list will only take you less than a minute, so what do you have to lose?

*The Travel Funds series is a collection of guest posts from Cents & Centsibility. See the original blog post here.*

6 Reasons You Should Visit Vieques on Your Puerto Rico Trip

Vieques Top Ten

If you’re looking for relaxation and seclusion, then Vieques could be the perfect place for you.  An island off the East coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques can be accessed via plane or ferry from mainland Puerto Rico.  The island is quieter and less touristy than San Juan, but still has plenty to see and do.  Here are 6 reasons you should visit Vieques on your Puerto Rico trip:

1. Playa Esperanza – Offers some of the best snorkeling on the island with direct access from the beach – no tour or boat required.

2. The Malecon in Esperanza – Esperanza is the main city most tourists stay in on Vieques. The boardwalk along the beach has restaurants and shops along it.

3. Secluded beaches – Vieques offers a number of beaches along the coastline that are seldom frequented by others.  If you want to find your own beach to spend the day, you can certainly do so in Vieques.

4. Mosquito Bay – Arguably the best place to see the Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico, Mosquito Bay offers visitors to chance to see the supernatural phenomenon for themselves.  Check out our guide to Puerto Rico’s Bio Bays here.

5. Playa Negra – a natural black sand beach created from volcanic activity on the island.

6. Boat tours – get out and see the island from the water and enjoy the bright blue ocean.  There are many boat tours to choose from or you can rent your own catamaran for a reasonable price and take it sailing yourself.

 

 

 

7 Memorable Places In The First British Capital Of India -Kolkata

‘KOLKATA’; the name of the city leaves a spell of the sweet magic that this place holds. The sweetness of the Rosogollas and the Mishti Doi leaves you fascinated, while the beauty of the city that unites tradition with modernization, lures every traveller. Life in the other metro cities of India is comparatively fast moving and more commercialised than this metro city. Being the ‘First British Capital of India’, Kolkata has a long tale to tell to each of its visitors. A superficial visit to this city would rather not invoke the quest of a traveller, so let’s take a thematic approach to have an insight of this beautiful metropolis:

1.  The Traditional Kolkata

photo 1

Durga Pooja – Photo by Biswajit Da, CC BY 2.0

In the scenes of old Bollywood movies, you can see people commuted through man pulled rickshaws. You could experience this ride in Kolkata even today! The ride in the busy city on a hand-drawn rickshaw adds to the traditional beauty of this city. Your trip to the traditional Kolkata does not conclude if you miss to visit the 200 year old Kalighat Temple. The famous Kali Temple, with a tradition of goat sacrifice, is considered to be of utmost religious importance. Open for its visitors from 8 am till 9 pm, this temple is situated on the banks of river Hoogly.

 

2.  The Colonial Kolkata

photo2

Interesting Architecture –  Photo by McKay Savage, CC BY 2.0

The colonial aspect of this city is well recognizable through its General Post Office, the country clubs for Golf and not to miss, the Kolkata Race Course. Built in 1820, this is one of the biggest race course in India. The splendour of the horse races commencing between the months of July till September and then again from November till March magnifies the beauty of the lush green surroundings of the vicinity which also witnesses the game of Polo during the off seasons.

 

3.  The Engineered Kolkata

Serving the city with the first underground metro railway station in India, Kolkata has marked a place of significance in the history of India. Also to add to the list of most marvellous works of engineering, the Howrah Bridge also known as the Rabindra Setu enhances the value of the city. Occupying a team of engineers for 7 years, this bridge was constructed during the British regime and proudly holds traffic of around 60,000 vehicles and numerous pedestrians each day.

 

4.  The Conserved Kolkata

photo 4

Indian Museum – Photo by Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0

Being the largest repository in India for the age-old treasure, Kolkata is a host to the geographical, zoological and archaeological resources which are well preserved in the Indian Museum in this city. Also termed as ‘Jaadu Ghar’, this place is a store of around 100,000 species of ancient times. Except for Mondays, this plethora of artefacts is open for visitors from 10 am till 5 pm.

 

5.  The Multi-Cultural Kolkata

photo 5

Bandel Church – Photo by Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0

While being profoundly known for its Hindu deities, Kolkata is also a home to multi-cultural belief. Be it the Bandel Church that is a Portuguese remembrance, famous for fulfilling wishes by the grace of Mother Mary or the Belur Math which is open for offerings for the people of different religions, Kolkata has a place for multiple cultures and religions. A visit to both these places evokes the spiritual aspect of every visitor.

 

6.  The Aesthetic Kolkata

 

cap

Victoria Memorial – Photo by KenWalker, CC BY-SA 4.0

Who can ignore the aesthetic aspect of this city, which is proud of displaying its vibrant idols of goddess Durga at the most famous Durga Puja festival of Kolkata? The Birla Art Museum is another showcase of the modern-day art of this city and homes several exhibitions of paintings and sculptors. Even the Victoria Memorial hall is a host to the aesthetic Kolkata and holds a gamut of preserves of paintings, books, sketches, miniatures, etc. of the past.

 

7.  The Appetent Kolkata

photo 7

Sandesh Sweet Of Kolkata – Photo by Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0

No one visiting Kolkata can keep away from the famous Bengali Sweets. The mouth-watering sweet delicacies like the Rosogulla and the Sandesh are the must have desserts in this city.

Having a lot to offer to each of its visitor, the tourist spots in Kolkata are one of the most famous travel destinations in India. So visit it to explore it!

 

Author Bio:

Rohit Agarwal is a beholder of natural beauty and writes travel blogs at http://www.transindiatravels.com/. In his hunt for places of natural treasure, he was fortunate to explore Kolkata. Here, he shares his experiences of this city with fellow travellers.

Top Ten Havana, Cuba (Top Ten Things to Do and See in Havana, Cuba)

Top Ten Havana, Cuba

Photo Credit: Cuban.Habana.Malecon. Antonio Milena for Agencia Brasil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cuba.Habana.Malecon.01.jpg

Top Ten Havana, Cuba:

1. Take a Ride in a Classic Car. Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959 the level of trade in Cuba has greatly diminished.  As a result of very few new imports, there are tons of classic build American cars still in use today and a ride in one is a must.  You can pick up a car on the street, just like a standard taxi for a fun experience.

2. Have a daiquiri at the Floridita. Famous for being a  favorite hang out spot for Ernest Hemingway, the restaurant and bar is well known for its daiquiris.

3. Hang out at the Malecon Sea Wall. When in Cuba, do as the Cubans do.  In the evenings, you can find tons of locals hanging out on the sea wall.  Grab a bottle of rum and head down to relax and people watch at the Malecon.

4. Experience Cuban Cigars.  Cuba is world famous for its cigars. Whether you want to smoke one yourself or watch them being hand rolled, cigars are a huge part of Cuban culture and something worth experiencing.

5. Go to the Cannon Firing Ceremony. Every evening at 9 P.M. there is an elaborate ceremony at La Cabana to reenact firing a cannon over the harbor.  The ceremony is quite touristy, but its a free way to pass some time and the fort offers some pretty night views of the city.

6. Drink an authentic Mojito.  Havana is the birthplace of the Mojito and you can find one just about anywhere you turn in the city.

7. Explore the Hotel Nacional.  The Hotel Nacional is a luxury hotel that boasts famous guests from Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, Backstreet Boys, and all kinds of performers and diplomats in between.  The hotel has a room dedicated to documenting all the celebrities and notable guests that have stayed there.  Castro took over the hotel during the Cuban Revolution and used it as headquarters for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Now, the hotel is back to its original purpose with the lobby and grounds in all their glory.

8. Dance at the Buena Vista Social Club.  The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club which became a very popular place for musicians to come perform in Havana.  The Club was shut down during the Cuban Revolution and the original has never been reopened.  However, Cafe Tebarna offers a dinner show replicating the Buena Vista Social Club.  The shows involve a dozen or so performers playing instruments and singing,  along with some latin dancers.

9. Dine at Paladar los Mercaderes.  Delicious Cuban cuisine in a great setting.  The owner takes great pride in the restaurant and is focused on service details, like sprinkling rose petals along the stairway to the restaurant each day.

10. Spend the day at the beach. Havana is not your typical Caribbean destination in that there really isn’t beach access within the city.  It is much more like a European city than a Caribbean hot spot.  However, you should still consider setting aside some time to hit a Cuban beach.  The most popular option, Playa de Este, is 20 minutes East of Havana by cab.  You can also arrange day trip excursions to more scenic or secluded spots on the island if you’d prefer to snorkel.

7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Carry-on

With stringent luggage rules, you aren’t left with much room to pack clothing and other goods in your carry-on.  Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of that space.

  1. Wear layers of clothing on the flight.  A great way to get some extra outfits in for your trip is to wear layers of clothing.  Throw an extra plastic bag or reusable shopping bag in your suitcase to put the extra clothes in later.  Always wear your bulkiest shoes and fluffiest sweater or jacket since they won’t condense well.
  2. Pack small objects such as socks and underwear in your shoes. If it is small enough to fit in something, put it there.
  3. Pack your biggest and least moldable objects first, then squeeze softer objects around those items. Pack shoes, bags of toiletries, and anything else that cannot be forced into an odd shape first, then bend your t-shirts and pajamas around them.
  4. If you don’t need it, leave it.  Europeans are known for wearing the same outfit for days in a row, no one is going to notice if you are wearing the same pair of jeans.  Trust me.
  5. Pack dark clothes and plain clothing. If you pack dark jeans and plain clothing, your friends are much less likely to notice you wearing the same shirt in all 300 photos you upload.
  6. Pack accessories. A great way to trick people in to thinking you are wearing a different outfit is by changing something simple like a scarf.  Especially in winter months, focus on packing more of what people will actually see than shirts that will end up hidden under your coat.
  7. Spacebags are a lie, and irritate fellow travelers. One girl I have traveled with a few times carries the travel version of spacebags with her for short trips.  I guarantee I fit 3x more clothing in my backpack than she did, the hard plastic bags do not optimize space in any way.  Plus they are loud and take way longer to pack in than just rolling your clothing. The only thing spacebags are truly useful for is pillows or other incredibly fluffy items with tons of excess air in them.

 

Top Ten Iceland (Reykjavik): Top Ten Things to Do and See in Iceland.

Top Ten Iceland (Reykjavik): Top Ten Things to Do and See in Iceland.

Iceland Top Ten

1. Take a Walking Tour of Reykjavic.  A great way to start out you trip to any new city is with a walking tour.  It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city and your guide will likely make suggestions of unique things to see or restaurants to try.  Blogger Audur, who runs the popular blog I Heart Reykjavik recently started giving tours.  There are also various tip based tours available.

2. Search for the Elusive Northern Lights.  There are numerous tours available to try and find the Northern Lights in Iceland but none can promise you will actually see the lights.  The most popular tours involve a tour bus taking viewers outside the city to get away from light pollution and standing in a field, hoping to catch a glimpse.  You may want to consider choosing a tour that combines viewing the lights with another activity, such as a glacier walk or a boat tour, that way if you don’t see the lights you still did something else worthwhile.  Alternatively, you could rent a room in the countryside and try to view the lights from the comfort of your room.

3. Check out the Golden Circle.  One of the most popular day tours from Reykjavik is the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a loop around some of Iceland’s famous sights including geysers, Gullfoss waterfall, and Thingveiller National Park.  Most tours also include a few more stops and last about half a day.  They are all pretty much identical, though one company offers a noon start time instead of the 9:00 a.m. start that most companies offer, which reduced the crowds at each attraction for us.

4. Watch some Whales. Iceland is one of the best places in Europe to whale watch.  Catch a tour and view some of the giants in their natural habitat.

5. Dine at Grillmarkaðinn (Grill Market).  One of the best restaurants I’ve dined at across the globe.  Everything we had was incredibly fresh and full of flavor.  A meal here isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the splurge for a special meal out. You won’t regret it.

6. Catch the View from Hallsgrimska.  Ride to the top of the iconic Hallsgrimska church for great views of the city.

7. Snack on the Famous Icelandic Hot Dogs.  The unofficial national food and the most popular restaurant in the country, is a hot dog stand.  The surprisingly delicious dog is made mostly from lamb and is a unique twist from the American version.  Getting a hot dog with everything is a must when you are in Reykjavik.

8. Tour the Countryside. Iceland’s greatest treasure is its natural scenery.  From glaciers to volcanoes, if you love the outdoors Iceland is your place.  A tour to the South Coast, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, or any other part of the country is definitely worth looking into for your trip.

9. Visit the Iceland Phallological Museum.  Reykjavik is home to the world’s largest display of penises and penile parts.  If you want a unique experience, this one is for you.

10. Experience an Icelandic Geothermal Pool.  Going to the pool is a huge part of Icelandic culture and something you should experience if you want an authentic experience.  The pools are most famous for their shower requirements (where all pool attendees must shower naked before putting on their swimsuits), but don’t let that scare you off.

5 South American Locations Perfect for Escaping Winter

This Winter you may be longing for the warm days of Summer to come back.  Luckily, our neighbor south of the Equator offers the temperatures of Summer this time of year.  Here are 5 locations perfect to swap the cold and snow for some warm summer nights.

1) Punta del Esta, Uruguay.

Uruguay is commonly referred to as the “Switzerland of South America” for it high class and European feel.  CNN named Uruguay one of the “World’s Top Destinations for 2012″.  If Uruguay was New York City, Punta del Esta would be the Hamptons.  For locals, keeping a summer house in Punta del Esta is ideal for its resort feel and rich atmosphere.

uruaguay


2) San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Situated between the Andes mountains and Nahuel Huapi Lake, Bariloche is a nature lover’s dream.  The city itself is styled after German and Swiss architecture, and is known for its jaw-dropping scenery and top-notch cuisine.  A huge ski town in the Winter (Summer for the Northern hemisphere), the region is perfect for boating, hiking, scuba diving, and similar activities in the Summer months.

Baril

3) Manaus, Brazil

Manaus is literally surrounded by the Amazon Rainforest and is one of the cities with the easiest access to the jungle.  Your best bet for a trip to the Amazon would be December or early January, if you go too late you will be arriving in the wet season.  Manaus offers a city feel in the middle of the jungle.

Manhaus

4) Santiago, Chile

A large modern metropolis, Santiago can offer a tourist just about everything.  With a Mediterranean climate similar to California, Chile has perfect Winter weather.  You can hike in the mountains in the morning and be on the beach by the afternoon.

Chile

 

5) Belize

Okay, so technically speaking Belize is not in South America, but it was too good to leave off our list.  Just off the coast of Belize you can find the cleverly named, Great Blue Hole; A UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With Caribbean culture and temperatures; Belize City is a calm, fun-loving city perfect for relaxing, snorkeling  or scuba diving on the coast.

Belize

 

Have another favorite Winter getaway? Let us know!