Photo: Natalie Southwick
Nestled on the western side of the Guajira peninsula, a remote spit of desert split between Colombia and Venezuela that juts out into the Caribbean, the pocket-sized town of Cabo de la Vela has quietly become a major eco-tourism destination – for those daring enough to brave the trip to try to find it. A two-hour drive from the nearest highway, Cabo de la Vela is the definition of “off the beaten path,” a tiny fishing village with a few houses and restaurants, a nearby lighthouse and some of the most beautiful water on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Photo: Kevin Raub
French bombshell Brigitte Bardot didn’t discover Armação dos Búzios (Búzios for short) but when she decided in 1964, at the top of her fame, to hide away in this small, unknown fishing village north of Rio de Janeiro for three months, she helped the world discover Búzios. The timeline of this gorgeous Brazilian beach resort, home to 23 some-odd beaches, each more perfect than the next, can be divided in two parts: B.B (Before Bardot) and A.B (After Bardot).
Photo: Beach Park
Bringing your kids to Brazil? No problem! Generally speaking, Brazil is a very kid-friendly country and the entire culture revolves around the idea of family time.
Let’s talk logistics: The airfare for children under the age of two usually runs 10% of the full-fare, rising to 50% until the age of 12. On long-distance buses, your lap is free, a seat is full-fare. Many hotels allow kids under five to stay free, but cots, cribs and other baby-oriented items may be more rare – plan ahead. Baby food and diapers are easy to find, but some of your favorite medicines may not be (best to bring those along). Overall, bring what you can’t live without, buy or borrow most of the standard necessities.
And if your kids can’t live without peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it’s best to bring your own PB! It’s rare outside of Rio, São Paulo and Brasília and expensive no matter where you are. Paying $18 for a jar of Peter Pan can ruin a vacation!
Here are Brazil’s top five destinations and attractions for kids:
With a stunning coastline of almost 3,000 miles, Chile definitely has a beach to suit every taste. There are beaches for checking out tidal pools, like Isla Negra, and for big wave surfing like Pichilemu, a couple of hours south west of Santiago, and of course, beaches for rock-scrambling, wading, long walks at sunset, and even the occasional chungungo (marine otter) sighting. The last one I saw in Maitencillo, on an early morning walk.
But if I had to pick just one beach, from the north, center and south of Chile’s extraordinarily long coastline, for long days at the beach, azure waters and sheer entertainment, I know which ones are my favorites, starting from the south.
Peru receives international acclaim for its man-made mysteries – primarily Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines – but perhaps one of its equally alluring destinations wasn’t manufactured by hand.
Peru’s beaches stretch more than 1,400 miles (2,250 km) down a sprawling coastline that kisses the Pacific Ocean. At nearly double the length of California’s famous seaside, Peru offers travelers a varied experience – from luxurious resorts to surfing Meccas to playful penguins.
Photo: Ana Carina Lauriano
It’s no short order to escape the tourists in Rio de Janeiro. The city easily finds itself near the top of almost everyone’s to-visit list. And as one of the most beautiful and exotic urban landscapes on the planet, rightfully so. According to figures from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism, over 9.2 million tourists disembarked in Brazil in 2012 – and almost every single one planted their toes into Rio’s remarkable city sands.
The allure of the Cidade Maravilhosa is, in fact, too powerful to ignore for some, who find themselves back on their favorite air travel search site a few months down the line, frantically playing with dates and routes to find the most economic way in which they can return to lap up even more sun, sand and samba. Those folks have already visited Rio’s 5-star attractions – Christ the Redeemer, Pão de Açúcar, Copacobana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa etc. – and are looking to escape fellow nomads and go a little more local. The good news is it’s not an impossible wish, but you’ll need to be committed to the effort. Here are a few places in Brazil’s most visited city where you can (maybe!) escape most fellow foreigners …
It came as a surprise to many – including your Brazil expert – when Florianópolis was recently chosen by readers of Condé Nast Traveler as the Friendliest City in the World, beating out the likes of Hobart, Australia; Thimpu, Bhutan; Queenstown, New Zealand and Charleston, South Carolina on its way to its poll-topping performance.
I have never been to Hobart, Thimpu or Charleston (though I did jump out of a plane in Queenstown once), but I have been to Florianópolis, the jewel of the Brazilian South, on more than a few occasions.
Photo: Andres Moschini
As spring transitions into summer in Buenos Aires you can still enjoy the rainbow-hued rose gardens of Parque Tres de Febrero and the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees along Avenida Independencia.
Signs of the city’s scorching summer are starting to arrive. Last week in Buenos Aires, temperatures rocketed up to 86 F (about 30°C). That’s causing many Buenos Aires locals, or porteños (as residents of this port city are known), to start daydreaming about escaping the city heat to the beach.
Photo: Geoff Gallice
Peru is considered one of the most- biodiverse countries in the world with some unbeatable records such as number one in diversity of butterflies and number two on birds species. If you are a nature lover, Peru offers not only lively culture but unique experiences in diverse ecosytems.
There is only one thing Ecuadorians have on their mind in the month of August–the beach. This is the month when the people of the sierra (highlands) head for the coast. And it is undoubtedly Ecuador’s most under-appreciated destination by international tourists. Everyone comes for the Galapagos and the jungle while skipping one third of the country’s richest tourism destinations.