Brazil

Hottest Summer Destinations for 2014

Posted April 23, 2014 by SmarterTravel.com

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Turn up the heat on your vacation plans this summer in a destination that beckons with new and standout reasons to visit. Even the chilliest spots on this list will be hot this summer with new traveler-friendly events, openings, and airline service. Whether you're looking for some natural splendor, a 24-hour urban scene, or a simple patch of white-sand bliss, you'll be able to find it in these dazzling destinations.

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Brazil

Brazil is set to be the center of the sports universe this summer as host of the FIFA World Cup, which will welcome teams from 32 countries around the world. With more than 2.5 million tickets already in circulation for matches in cities around the country, the world will be cheering in Brazil between June 12 and July 13.

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Jamaica

Domestic low-cost giant Southwest has gotten its passport and is heading to the beach. This summer, it will launch its first international flights, with service to Jamaica from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando starting in July. JetBlue is also expanding its Jamaica service just in time for summer, with new flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay.

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Las Vegas, Nevada

Heat rises, and this summer, you can survey already-smoking-hot Las Vegas from on high in the city's latest supersized novelty, the High Roller Ferris wheel. Staking a claim as the world's tallest, the 550-foot-tall observation wheel supports 28 individual pods that can each hold up to 40 people. The views are most spectacular at night, when the Strip sparkles below. And, this being Vegas, you can buy your drinks at the bottom and bring them with you on your journey to the sky and back.

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Belgium

Last December, we named Belgium a destination to watch in 2014. And this August, it will become clear why, as the country—and the world—marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. More than 2 million travelers are expected to pay tribute at Belgium's many battle sites. The new Bastogne War Museum just opened last month and will host a variety of centennial events in the coming years.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

In these ancient mountains that teem with constant springs of new life, a hundred years seems like both a blip and an eternity. This year, Rocky Mountain National Park turns 100 years old, and visitors can celebrate nature and conservation at its finest by taking part in picnics, night hikes, art exhibits, and more. Centennial events kick off in early September and stretch into 2015, so even if you miss the opening festivities, you'll still have plenty of time to join the celebration.

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Umea, Sweden

Umea brings a new twist to its Capital of Culture designation this summer with hundreds of cultural events and nearly 24-hour daylight around the summer solstice. Highlights of the summer season include U x U, a crowd-funded music festival, as well as an outdoor staging of Strauss' opera Elektra.

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Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is looking to the future by celebrating the past this summer. Its modern reimagining of the classic streetcar will debut in late spring or early summer, with 12 stops connecting Centennial Olympic Park, downtown Atlanta, Georgia State University, and the historic Sweet Auburn District. And in May, downtown Atlanta's new National Center for Civil and Human Rights museum will welcome the public for the first time.

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Aruba

Along with Jamaica, Aruba will be one of Southwest's first international destinations. In July, the domestic-until-now low-cost carrier will kick off service between Aruba and Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando. And the timing is perfect—since Aruba sits outside the traditional "hurricane belt," Caribbean summer travel to this island is unlikely to be hampered by challenging weather.

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Glasgow, Scotland

Brazil isn't the only country that's got game this summer. Glasgow is gearing up to host the XX Commonwealth Games, an event that draws participants and spectators from a number of countries around the world. Featuring 17 events, including aquatics, gymnastics, triathlon, and table tennis, the XX Commonwealth Games kicks off on July 23 and runs through August 3.

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Panama

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama! The engineering marvel that inspired the palindrome turns 100 on August 15, and Panama is gearing up to celebrate. Throughout the year, a number of cruise lines are offering special canal crossings or partial crossings, and day tours by providers such as Panama Canal Tours will be offered all summer. The Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo, which is visible from the entrance to the canal, will also likely open this summer. And the expansion project continues: By 2015, larger ships may be able to access the canal.

 

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Hottest Summer Destinations for 2014. 

 Follow Christine Sarkis on Google+ or email her at at [email protected].

Be Thrifty and Adventurous in Paraty, Brazil

Posted September 15, 2010 by Kate Hamman

Paraty With 65 islands and endless beaches, Paraty provides countless affordable activities for the adventure-minded or the vacation-oriented. Pay a visit to this architecturally impressive town and then play in the sand and sea. At night, dine on traditional Brazilian dishes with a twist, before returning to your own slice of the tropics at your hotel.

Play
Paraty Tours: If Paraty is an outdoor enthusiast's playground, then Paraty Tours is the swing set and jungle gym. This adventure outfitter can equip you with all the necessary tools and a guide, whether you want to sail, raft, bike, or ride. One of the more popular tours is the schooner excursion, during which you'll stop for 40-minute intervals at different locations and are encouraged to dive or snorkel. The company also offers more mild outings, including a tour of the city.

Eat
Restaurante Banana da Terra: Starting as a family restaurant, Banana da Terra takes its inspiration from several different tribes and cultures to create something of its very own. Since the restaurant uses local produce, fish from Paraty Bay, and fruits from its own backyard, you're almost guaranteed a fresh meal every time. Keep in mind that the portions are large enough to share, and one entree may be enough for two people.

Stay
Pousada Guarana: With colorful gardens encompassing the Pousada Guarana, you'll feel like you're staying in a lush tropical hideaway. The inn brings natural and artistic elements to its interior, with exposed eucalyptus wood beams and stained glass windows. During the day, you can relax by the outdoor swimming pool or borrow one of the inn's bikes and explore the area.

To search for flights and compare prices to Rio de Janeiro, which is home to Monterey’s closest airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Jose Carlos Pires Pereira)

Live (But Don't Starve) Like an Artist in Buenos Aires

Posted June 30, 2010 by Kate Hamman

Buenos aires In Buenos Aires, Latin American heritage blends seamlessly with European sensibilities exhibited in its cobblestone streets, worldly cafes, and grand avenues. It's no wonder so many artists flock here to paint this subtle blending of cultures. Examine local artwork in a museum, or delve into deep philosophical conversations at a cafe. And then live like an artist in your very own—and affordable—apartment.

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Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Malba): Stop by the Malba, where you'll encounter more than 200 pieces of Argentinian and Latin American artwork from the 20th century through the present. During your visit, you can take part in many of the different educational programs available for adults and children that bring curators, artists, and the public together.

Eat
Dada: Named after the early 20th century art movement, this cafe embraces the same rebellious philosophy, with an energetic spirit that encourages conversation and gatherings. Open until 4:00 a.m., you can chat the night away to the sounds of bossa nova. The menu may be a bit heavy on the meat dishes, but the food keeps people coming back for more.

Stay
Art Suites: Just a few minutes from the financial district, you'll find a sleek and simple place to live like a local. The Art Suites serve as a home away from home by providing all the necessary amenities you might need in your own apartment, including a fully equipped kitchen. This makes it simple to save extra cash by cooking some of your own meals. You'll also enjoy the extra space of a living room and a balcony. Rooms start at $110 per night, and include continental breakfast.

To search for flights and compare prices to Buenos Aires, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Sexto Sol)

Be Thrifty and Adventurous in Paraty, Brazil

Posted April 24, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Brazil-Paraty-Sailing-DEF With 65 islands and endless beaches, Paraty provides countless affordable activities for the adventure-minded or the vacation-oriented. Pay a visit to this architecturally impressive town and then play in the sand and sea. At night, dine on traditional Brazilian dishes with a twist, before returning to your own slice of the tropics at your hotel.

Play
Paraty Tours: If Paraty is an outdoor enthusiast's playground, then Paraty Tours is the swing set and jungle gym. This adventure outfitter can equip you with all the necessary tools and a guide, whether you want to sail, raft, bike, or ride. One of the more popular tours is the five-hour schooner excursion, during which you'll stop for 40-minute intervals at different locations and are encouraged to dive or snorkel. The company also offers more mild outings, including a tour of the city.

Eat
Restaurante Banana da Terra: Starting as a family restaurant, Banana da Terra takes its inspiration from several different tribes and cultures to create something of its very own. Since the restaurant uses local produce, fish from Paraty Bay, and fruits from its own backyard, you're almost guaranteed a fresh meal every time. Keep in mind that the portions are large enough to share, and one entree may be enough for two people.

Stay
Pousada Guarana: With colorful gardens encompassing the Pousada Guarana, you'll feel like you're staying in a lush tropical hideaway. The inn brings natural and artistic elements to its interior, with exposed eucalyptus wood beams and stained glass windows. During the day, you can relax by the outdoor swimming pool or borrow one of the inn's bikes and explore the area. The hotel doesn't allow children under the age of 12.

To search for flights and compare prices to Rio de Janeiro, which is home to Monterey’s closest airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Jose Carlos Pires Pereira)

Bones Brought in Baggage from Brazil

Posted March 13, 2008 by Zak Patten

Skeletonweb I once saw a man boarding my plane with a full rack of antlers protruding from his backpack. Apparently the TSA doesn’t have any prohibitions against packing animal bones, no matter how sharp they are. I wonder if those security screeners would have even noticed the skeleton a 62-year-old woman recently flew with from Brazil to Italy?

As you might have figured, the woman was stopped by airport security (in Germany) and interrogated. It turned out she was fulfilling her brother’s dying wish from 11 years ago to be buried in Italy. The traveler (the live one) was actually able to provide documents allowing her to legally fly with her unusual luggage item. The authorities then allowed her to continue on her way.

Which got me to thinking, just what kind of bag do you pack a dead body in? I think first of all, you probably want to use a sealed, heavy-duty plastic liner inside the bag, just so you don’t lose any of the bones among your socks and underwear. Imagine putting on your skivvies one morning only to find someone’s metacarpal where it didn’t belong. And you wouldn’t want to trust airline baggage handlers to safely transport the remains of your loved one, so putting the cadaver in a carry-on is a must. It’s not like we’re talking about a full-on corpse, which would clearly require at least a second checked bag (and another 25 bucks on some airlines). No, I’d say your best bet is to get a good solid roll-aboard with a few sweaters thrown in around the deceased to avoid breakage.


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