Best Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic: you’ve probably heard of it, maybe heard of the baseball players it has given Major League Baseball. Maybe even been there already, but no matter what you know (or don’t), the Dominican Republic is a place with someone for everyone from solo travelers to those with families. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach, a night out in the city or kite boarding in one of the best places on Earth, there are many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Before we delve into what you can do in the Dominican Republic, you first need to know when is the best time to visit. The Dominican Republic is a tropical island, located just south of the Tropic of Cancer. This means the summers can be warm and brutally humid, while the winters dip down to the perfect, low-humidity temperatures for enjoying everything it has to offer.

See also: Tips for Travel to the Dominican Republic

The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.
The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

When to visit the Dominican Republic

Summers (verano e infiernosummer and hell) in the Dominican Republic are not as warm as you might expect, with averages reaching around 80-85˚ F (27-29˚ C), but the humidity can reach as much as 90-100% making being outdoors difficult at times. However, you should note that most places to stay will offer air conditioning. As a nation in the Caribbean, the DR is also under Hurricane Watch from June-November and while it has been spared from large hurricanes in recent years, it is something to take into account in your travel planning. All of that said, the months of March – October are the low season in the Dominican. However, prices of accommodations and plane tickets drop off and it’s still a wonderful time to be in the country!

Winters in the Dominican run from approximately November through March when humidity reaches much more manageable levels, while temperatures remain in the low to mid 80’s. This is the ideal time to visit the Dominican, though be warned, it’s also “high” season when prices for accommodations, plane tickets and everything else peak. Yet, you’ll still be able to find great deals on places to see and things to do during the Dominican winter.

Getting around the Dominican Republic

Getting around the Dominican Republic is best done by car. All the major car rental companies are present in the DR and driving there, while intense, can generally be done with ease. When you’re driving in the Dominican, especially in cities, you’ll need to pay attention to motos (people on motorbikes) as they can take over the roadways, especially outside Santo Domingo. You might also have to have a keen eye out for potholes. Leave a major roadway and potholes could end up being the bane of your trip. There are speed limits, which are mostly obeyed by other drivers as are stop lights and signs. If you’re comfortable driving normally, you’ll be plenty comfortable here. 

Best places to visit in the Dominican Republic

Although there are many more places to visit in the Dominican Republic, some of which are more “off the beaten path”, we are focusing here on looking at some of the places in the Dominican Republic that may be better known, or easier to access thanks to having international airports, and giving you some options of things to do outside of the typical beach vacation most people tend to think of the Dominican Republic for. 

Let’s start with Santo Domingo, the first city of the Americas, for those of you who think you can’t see anything “old” on this side of the world.

1. Santo Domingo

Getting to Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is only second to Punta Cana in airline traffic. Depending on where you are, it may be more or less easy to find a direct, affordable flight, but it’s certainly not impossible. The airport code for Santo Domingo is SDQ. 

Flights to Santo Domingo typically come from the following places: 

From North America

Many of the largest cities on the East Coast of the US, such as New York, Boston, Altanta, and Washington, D.C. offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo. To get to Santo Domingo from the West Coast, you will need a layover somewhere in the East to hop down. The three largest US-based airlines (Delta, American, United) all offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo from the East Coast, in addition to some of the major lower-cost airlines (Spirit, JetBlue). 

You can also fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Toronto, Canada, and Mexico City, through their flagship airlines.

From Central and South America

There are daily nonstop flights from Bogota, Colombia, and Panama City, Panama. Panama is also a great layover option if you’re flying from the West Coast, as it’s only a two hour flight to Santo Domingo from there. 

From Western Europe

You can fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Madrid, Paris, and Frankfurt. From Europe, however, you have a much greater offer of flights if you fly to Punta Cana instead, which is a two and a half drive to Santo Domingo.  

You can also visit Santo Domingo as part of a Caribbean cruise itinerary. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Ponant, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Seaborn are stopping at the Santo Domingo Port in some of their itineraries, which allows you, in most cases, at least enough time to visit the Colonial City. As the first city in the Americas, the Colonial City is the crown jewel of Santo Domingo. If you only do one thing in the city, do this.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher Columbus’ brother), Santo Domingo was the founding capital of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. As such, it boasts many of “the firsts” of its kind in terms of government buildings and infrastructure, including the first fort, the first courthouse, the first hospital, and the first cathedral. The whole Colonial City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. 

Easily walkable despite the cobblestone streets, the Zona Colonial features remarkably preserved examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, most notably present in the Catedral Primada de America. 

Start your journey at the Colonial Zone at Plaza España, an open square facing the port, which gives you access to landmarks such as the Alcazar de Colon (the Palace of Diego Columbus), and the Calle Las Damas, where many of these “first of the Americas” buildings are. Give yourself at least a morning to explore and enjoy one of the multiple cafes or restaurants spread across the different streets of the Zone.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial in Dominican Republic
The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

A Seasonal Highlight: Winter Baseball

While many, if not most, people don’t visit the Dominican Republic to watch baseball, it is one of the most fun activities you can do while visiting. Baseball is the country’s national sport, something evident by the large number of Dominican players that end up playing professionally. Running from late October to mid-January, the games are held in venues around the country. Tickets are extremely affordable and you’ll have the chance to see some big names from the MLB come down and play winter baseball as well as glimpse future up and coming stars. Unlike games in the US, baseball games here are a bit wild with a vast array of drinks and cheerleaders. That’s right, cheerleaders! All in all, Dominican games are a highlight when visiting the country and if you get the opportunity, it’s one you should take. Weekday games are usually in the evening and weekend games start in the late afternoon. 

Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors
Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors

2. Punta Cana

If you are familiar with the Dominican Republic, or have been before, chances are you visited Punta Cana or that came up as an option for your vacation. And while Punta Cana is the prime destination for resort vacations in the Dominican Republic, there’s more to it.

Getting to Punta Cana

Punta Cana is easily the Dominican’s top destination. With the island’s busiest airport (and 2nd busiest in the entire Caribbean), getting there is not difficult. Punta Cana has year-round flights from everywhere in the Western Hemisphere; you might want to arrive from either eastern North America, South America, or Europe. With a new highway built, Punta Cana is also only a short 2.5 hour drive from the capital – Santo Domingo should you choose to rent a car.

What to do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is the Dominican’s top destination, boasting many of the best activities and accommodations on the entire island and possibly in the entire Caribbean. Punta Cana boasts all-inclusive hotels as well as themed hotels, such as the Nickelodeon Resort, where everything, from the rooms to the restaurants and rides, is themed after some of Nickelodeon’s most popular shows. You can even stay in a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed pineapple suite, which is a townhouse shaped like a pineapple on the outside. Or the Hard Rock Hotel, which hosts some of the top concerts and shows in the country, including world-famous Cirque du Soleil in recent years. 

Punta Cana also boasts pristine, extensive beaches for every beach taste. Here are some examples: 

  • Macao Beach is the preferred destination for those looking for adventure in Punta Cana, with its buggy rides and surf-friendly waves. 
  • Juanillo Beach in Cap Cana, a postcard-perfect beach of white sand sprinkled with palm trees, is perfect for swimming and water sports like kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), as well as lounging under perfect blue, breezy skies. 
  • Cabeza de Toro is a beach area northeast of Punta Cana where you can go out fishing and snorkeling. This area of the country often sees competitive fishing tournaments, so fishing is some of the best you can do. You can book a fishing, snorkeling, or sailing excursion through most hotels. 

Last but not least, the Ojos Indigenas Reserve in Punta Cana is a welcome respite from the beach-heavy environment Punta Cana can bring across at times. The Ojos Indigenas Reserve includes 12 freshwater lagoons in 1500 acres of land. The reserve includes species endemic to the Dominican Republic and intends to preserve the natural habitat of the area as it was experienced by the Taino people, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. 

Top places to visit in Dominican Republic - Punta Cana
Aerial view from the plane over Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – depositphotos.com

3. Dominican Republic’s North Coast

Next, let’s talk about the original tourist destination of the Dominican Republic: the North Coast. The north coast is home to many of the most popular places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to the Dominican Republic’s north coast

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic offers a wonderful reprieve from the resorts of Punta Cana and the business of Santo Domingo.  Getting there is as easy as flying into Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón Airport with a number of seasonal flights from the eastern US, Europe and Canada as well as a few year round flights from the US East Coast and Canada. Puerto Plata is about a 10 minute drive from the airport, while Cabarete is about a 20 minute drive.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is the Dominican Republic’s largest city in the north, with a population of around 330,000. Founded in 1502, Puerto Plata offers a whole host of sites to see and do. You can visit Fort San Felipe (completed in 1577) as the main colonial remnant on the North Coast of the DR.

Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic

You can also take a cable car up Mount Pico Isabel de Torres to see a smaller Christ the Redeemer Statue than Rio, but a taller mountain and take in resplendent views of the city and ocean. If you are there at the end of February to early March, you can also enjoy Carnivál in Puerto Plata when Dominicans go out and celebrate with masks, parades, and much more.

Top attraction in Dominican Republic’s north coast: The 27 Waterfalls

One of the main attractions in the area, however, are the Damajagua Falls or 27 Waterfalls (Veintisiete Charcos), but keep in mind you’ll need to be 12 or older. If visiting in the winter when water levels are higher, you can visit this wonderful natural wonder and enjoy a truly experience. You’ll have a guided tour and two options to make your way up. You hike (quicker and easier) or swim and climb up through deep, gorgeous caverns. You can go up to the first stage (7 waterfalls), 2nd stage (12 waterfalls) or the 3rd and most difficult stage, all 27 waterfalls, but be warned it’s a difficult swim up. Upon reaching your destination, you’ll be able to jump and slide your way back down with falls landing from 5 feet up to around 15-20 foot jumps. If you’re willing and able, the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua can be one of the highlights of your trip!

When planning, you’ll find a host of accommodations for everyone from boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts. Options within the city are available for those looking for a more low-key, authentic Dominican stay, but all-inclusive resorts around the city and surrounding area. If you’re unfamiliar, all-inclusives charge by person (not room) and include room, food, and drink. We recommend doing your research as some of the all-inclusive have seen better days.

4. Cabarete

A short drive from Puerto Plata and about 20 minutes from the airport, you can find yourself in Cabarete, a thriving beach town where many young people and snow-birds alike end up. Cabarete is one of the top kiteboarding locations in the world and just west of the town (1-2 miles) you’ll find hundreds of surfers in the winter months.

Cabarete has many great food options including a whole slew of wonderful beach bars. There are fewer resorts available here, but plenty of amazing options in town and next to the beach. Many places available to stay have full kitchens available as well and the grocery store is stocked well enough to satisfy all travelers. Cabarete is also one of, if not the, best spot on the island to find large sweets for boogie boarding and surfing. Like everywhere else in the Dominican Republic, Cabarete has something for everyone: beaches, outdoor activities, and great food and drink. 

Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

5. Samaná Peninsula

Continuing on the Atlantic coast, Samana is a definite change of pace from what we see in the largest resort destinations in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to Samaná Peninsula

While one of the most beautiful parts of the Dominican Republic, it can also be one of the more difficult to arrive at Samaná does have an airport with a few year round flights (all from Canada – Toronto & Montreal and Europe – Madrid) with seasonal flights from these same places, but Miami in the US. As such, many travelers rent a car and drive. From Santo Domingo it is a 2.5 hour drive on easy going roads. There are several tolls along the way, but the alternative route is not worth avoiding these costs as the roads are far worse and it takes far longer. 

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas is one the main places you’ll want to visit on the Samaná Peninsula. With a population hovering around 15,000, it has become a go-to spot for expats, especially from France, looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Despite its size, however, Las Terrenas has plenty to offer for everyone! Like many places to visit in the Dominican Republic, Las Terrenas is surrounded by beautiful beaches. If you’re staying in the city, the beaches are just a short walk away. Playa Las Terrenas and Punta Pops are right there and provide plenty of shade with crystal clear blue waters. Unlike other places in the Dominican Republic, the beaches here are going to be far less crowded as Las Terrenas provides a quieter time (though still with a great nightlife, more on that later!).

If you’re staying outside the city, the beaches are not nearly as vast, but are even more peaceful with plenty of places to relax and enjoy the warm waters, whether its Playa Carolina Portillo to the east or Playa Bonita to the west. Playa Cosón, a short drive further east from Playa Bonita, offers wide swaths of gorgeous golden sand beaches, with towering palms. It is also as isolated a beach as you may ever find. 

Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic

While Las Terrenas is not as lively as say Cabarete or Punta Cana, it still offers an exciting nightlife. A row of restaurants and bars along the waterfront in downtown Las Terrenas offers a slew of places to go for families and singles alike. As with the beaches, just outside the city to the East and West, many small bars and restaurants also exist, many as part of hotels for those looking for a quieter night out.

Final thoughts

This is, by no means, an exhaustive travel guide on the Dominican Republic. Hopefully, it gives you some ideas for your next vacation. Thanks to its natural beauty and rich history, the Dominican Republic is a prime Caribbean destination for all travelers. Ready to go?


Most Beautiful Places in Chile

Stretching 4,270 km (2,653 mi) from the desert around Arica to one of the southernmost points in South America, Chile encompasses a vast range of climates, landscapes and ecosystems. With the Pacific on one side and the Andes on the other, you’ll find here a wealth of photogenic and beautiful places in Chile, as well as many pretty cities and towns from Northern Chile to Southern Chile.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on where to go in Chile, keep reading!

Torres Del Paine National Park
Torres Del Paine National Park

Here are 12 of the most beautiful places in Chile

There are many beautiful places in Chile to visit, covering a vast number of different types of landscapes and experiences.

1. Atacama Desert

The driest non-polar desert in the world, the Atacama desert is full of interesting geological features. Stay in the town of San Pedro de Atacama and take a tour or bicycle ride to nearby sites such as The Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon); an appropriate name for such a weird landscape of multi-hued rocks and dusty salt flats.

Tours also run from the town to El Tatio Geysers (like this one), which are particularly remarkable at dawn when the vast plumes of hot water catch the early morning light. If you’re willing to brave the cold air you can also take a dip in the springs. On the edge of the desert, near the city of La Serena, you can take tours of observatories and get a glimpse of extraterrestrial beauty.

Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert one of the most beautiful places in Chile
Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert

2. Cochamó Valley

This little-visited valley has been compared to Yosemite National Park, and hiking into the valley it’s easy to see why. Huge granite mountains loom high above, with vast waterfalls streaming down into forested valleys.

Those who come here are in for an adventure, with the main tourism centre (La Junta) comprising of just a few accommodation options, one of which is only accessible via a platform connected to a pulley system across a swift river. The hike here alone is over 8 miles away from the nearest car park, but it’s a wonderful hike which slowly reveals the majesty of this valley.

You may even pass a man and his horses bringing supplies to La Junta. Hiking is the star attraction here, with trails leading up into this granite peaks. Although challenging – with few signs and at times precipitous paths – the routes all lead to stupendous viewpoints.

See also: The Best Sunglasses for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

Cochamó Valley, Chile
Cochamó Valley, Chile

3. Valparaíso

Your first impression of Valparaíso may not make you think it’s particularly beautiful, but once you’re closer to the centre of the city you’ll realise that it has its own particular style. The Historic Quarter is replete with colourful buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here there are grand, ornate edifices, delightful little squares, and 140 year-old elevators and funiculars carrying passengers up to pretty cobbled streets. This historic beauty is matched by the beauty of the city’s famous street art, which livens dull walls with fantastical scenes and figures.

If you’re staying in Santiago, you’ll find many day tours to Valparaíso.

Colourful buildings in Valparaíso, Chile
Colourful buildings in Valparaíso, Chile

4. Chiloé Island

Mystical Chiloé is a 3.5 hour bus journey from Puerto Montt if you go straight to the capital Castro, or around 2 hours if you stop in Ancud first. From Ancud you can undertake a tour to the wild coast to see penguin colonies as well as beautiful Pumillahue bay. Castro is famous for its colourful wooden buildings constructed on stilts over the sea, and it also has a bus that runs a couple of times a day to the Dock of Souls – a wooden platform above huge cliffs which makes it appear as though you’re walking off into the ocean. The name comes from a legend of the Mapuche, who are an important part of Chile and whose culture and traditions add to the rich experiences on Chiloé Island.

Dock of Souls, Chiloé Island, Chile
Dock of Souls, Chiloé Island, Chile

5. Lake Villarica

The Chilean Lake District is a vast area in the south of Chile and features dozens of lakes dotted along the foothills of the Andes. This is, perhaps, the most beautiful part of this South American country and a must-see on any Southern Chile itinerary. The towns here often have equally gorgeous architecture and in Pucon you’ll find neat streets with many buildings influenced by German settlers. It has a beach on the sublime Lago Villarica, and behind are the snowy slopes of the fairly active Villarica volcano itself.

Buses run frequently to Huerquehue National Park which has easy-to-follow mountain trails and breathtaking vistas. You can also take a bus to Reserva Nacional Villarrica which also has excellent trails up through monkey puzzle trees to yet more stunning viewpoints.

View from Huerquehue National Park, Chile
View from Huerquehue National Park, Chile

6. Lake Llanquihue

Also in the Lake District is Lake Llanquihue – Chile’s second largest inland body of water. On the shores of this lake is perched pretty Puerto Varas. Known as “The city of roses”, Puerto Varas has numerous buildings reflecting its German settler heritage, as well as a view of Osorno volcano – a view so perfect that you’ll find yourself stopping and staring at it from the town’s sublime waterfront. Take a bus or tour to picturesque Petrohué Falls where you’ll find raging water, calm lakes, and yes, more volcanoes.

Petrohué Falls, Chile
Petrohué Falls, Chile

7. Zapallar

Gorgeous Zapallar is a town just north of Valparaiso which attracts Chile’s rich and famous. It’s laid out beside a rocky cove and sandy beaches, over which mansions look out towards the Pacific. Take a stroll along the coast and spot endangered Peruvian pelicans. Keep going and you’ll get to Isla Los Pinguinos, where you can watch Humboldt Penguins frolicking in the sea.

Zapallar, Chile
Zapallar, Chile

8. Torres Del Paine

Best explored by foot along the famous W trek, Torres Del Paine National Park is a wonderland of mountains, lakes, and forests. The mountains here are particularly spiky (hence ‘Torres’, or ‘Towers’), none more so than Torres d’Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino which point finger-like up to 2,500 metres into the Chilean sky. Visitors will also get a peak at the Southern Patagonian Ice Field – the world’s second largest ice field outside of the poles – where it forms into the Dickson, Grey and Tyndall glaciers. You’ll probably see guanacos close to the entrance of the park. If you’re really lucky you may even see a puma.

See also: A Guide to Torres Del Paine Trekking

Torres Del Paine, Chile
Torres Del Paine, Chile

9. Chilean Fjords

Take the Navimag ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt and you’ll be undertaking a 4-night journey through some of the most incredible scenery on Earth. Countless mountains and volcanoes appear along the route as you glide by, with hardly any signs of human habitation. In fact, the only stop along the way is at Puerto Eden, a village of under 200 people that can only be accessed via the ferry.

Far more common than humans is the plethora of birdlife, among which you may see albatross and petrels. Beneath the water it’s not uncommon to spot dolphins and whales. Roughly halfway among is the Messier Channel where you’ll see the partially submerged wreck of the Capitán Leonidas ship. There are also points at which you may see that distant Southern Patagonian Ice Field, but perhaps the most thrilling part of the journey is when the ship has to navigate particularly narrow channels where it feels as though you could reach and almost touch land.

Most beautiful places in Chile: Chilean Fjords
Chilean Fjords

10. Cajón del Maipo

The arid Maipo canyon is a short drive from the capital, Santiago, and gifts visitors with awesome views of the Andes. Dotted along the canyon are patches of green where irrigation feeds green lawns and walnut tree groves. Embark on a horseback ride through forests, rivers and vineyards. If you’re feeling fit then trek up to El Morado lookout for some truly spectacular mountain scenery.

Cajón del Maipo
Cajón del Maipo

11. Tierra Del Fuego

This southern tip of South America is shared with Argentina, and the next land mass you’ll come to if you continue south is Antarctica. Although not quite as cold as the White Continent, Tierra Del Fuego is still a land of cool summers and freezing winters. The rocky landscape is pounded by weather brought in by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Beagle Channel and astounds visitors with its wild beauty. But the starkness belies the wildlife which can be found here, not least the huge King Penguins (join a tour to go see them). Porvenir is a fascinating little town with stark scenery that was once the home of the Selk’Nam people, who sadly were the victims of colonialist genocide.

Tierra Del Fuego, Chile
Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

12. Santa Cruz

The winelands of Santa Cruz are the perfect contrast to icy Tierra Del Fuego, and yet another illustration of the contrasting beauty of Chile. Rolling grasslands, Andean foothills and vast vineyards fill the landscape, and it’s those vineyards which pull in most visitors. Quite rightly, too, as here is produced some of the best wine in the world, which you can enjoy in sumptuous splendour at wineries such as Clos Apalta Lapostolle, where you can look out from its huge windows over the very grapes that become the delicious drink you will undoubtedly be sampling.

Chilean winery
Chilean winery

While this list covers a lot, there are still many incredibly beautiful places in Chile! A few others include Patagonia, Easter Island and Volcan Villarrica.

The Best Places to Visit in Australia

Visitors who are planning a trip to Australia might feel overwhelmed because there is so much to see. After all, Australia is vast and showcases multiple cultures and subcultures within its borders.

While different travelers have different priorities, some destinations offer something for nearly everyone. Here are the top places to visit in Australia where most visitors will learn a lot and have a great time.

Visit Natvisa for some travel tips and also read our guide on getting an ETA for Australia.

See also Watch Out for Australian Big Things

The top places to visit in Australia

Byron Bay

Byron Bay was at the heart of Australia’s hippie movement. This relaxed beach town is also the easternmost point of Australia and a hub for many adventure activities like skydiving, scuba diving, surfing (it’s listed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world), and more.

More sedate travelers can enjoy excursions like whale watching or activities like yoga. As Byron Bay becomes more and more popular, trendy bars and restaurants are popping up in the area, too.

Byron Bay hosts a number of festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Travelers can look at the calendar so they know what to expect when they go or when to plan their next trip.

Surfing holidays in Byron Bay, Australia
Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru is the famous red rock that rises, seemingly out of nowhere, in the Australian outback. While nearly everyone has seen a photo of it, it’s worth a visit in person because it’s much grander and more majestic in real life.

Note that climbing Uluru is not permitted, as it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the rock itself is sacred to indigenous cultures in the area. However, there are other rock formations in the area – such as those in the rest of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where travelers can do more exploring.

There are also museums in the area that showcase indigenous culture. Humans have inhabited the area for at least 10,000 years and it is both exciting and educational to learn more about them.

See also Why Uluru is the Heart of Australia

Places to visit in Australia
Uluru red rocks in Australia

Sydney

Travelers who love urban life should not leave Australia without visiting Sydney. This vibing metropolis has something for everyone, from an active nightlife to posh restaurants, shopping experiences, whale watching and more.

Visitors who have seen the iconic Sydney opera house can get a tour of it in person, or they can even see an opera there if they come at the right time. Other attractions in the city include Manly Beach, the Federation Cliff Walk, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Bondi Beach, Paddington Markets, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbor, Sydney Harbour Islands and more.

The most daring travelers will want to take a guided climb of the harbor bridge. Strapped into a harness, they will follow a guide up the side of the bridge for a breathtaking view of the entire city. It’s an experience no visitor will ever, ever forget.

See also A Self-Guided Walking Tour in Sydney

Sydney Harbour, Australia
Sydney Harbour, Australia

The Gold Coast

While it is enough of a tourist trap that some publications don’t suggest going there at all, the Gold Coast has a certain appeal. It is something like Las Vegas in the United States, complete with glitz and glam, and it even has casinos.

The truth is, the Gold Coast hosts some of the best beaches (and beach weather!) in Australia. It also has nightclubs, bars, and enough theme parks for any palate.

People who don’t like everything shiny should head to nearby Springbrook National Park for a serious rainforest experience, or visit Mount Tamborine to taste wine and cheese and see the work of artisans and craftspeople. There are also plenty of great places to visit near the Gold Coast.

How to apply for an ETA for Australia
Aerial view of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Alice Springs

Travelers who want a real experience of the Australian outback should visit Alice Springs. It’s 900 miles away from anything else and is a great place to learn about aboriginal history, the settlement of Australia, and more.

Alice Springs offers some odd events, like an annual “regatta” that takes place in a sandy wash close to town. There’s always something going on and, even when it’s a little strange, it’s also quite a bit of fun.

Travelers who want to explore other places in the outback, like King’s Canyon or Uluru, can use Alice Springs as their base camp and head out from there. They can set up everything from camel treks to dinner with Crocodile Dundee, so there’s something for everyone!

Places to visit in Australia
Alice Springs

Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas is a tiny village by the sea that is worth visiting on it’s own just to get away from it all. While some people choose Cairns because it’s bigger, Port Douglas makes a great hub for exploring this area.

Both the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The reef is the largest one in the world, and offers superb opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. Protecting the reef is key, as no one wants it to disappear.

The Daintree Rainforest is an ancient ecosystem that has been preserved through careful planning and conservation. Visitors can go hiking, paddleboarding, zip lining, and more, all through curated experiences that also help preserve the land. Beyond that, the Rainforest is home to Cape Tribulation, considered a top white-sand beach in Australia.

Daintree Rainforest in Australia
Daintree Rainforest

Tasmania

Beyond its allure as a separate island from the rest of Australia, Tasmania has a lot to offer travelers. Almost half of it is reserved as National Park or otherwise protected territory, so there’s a lot of natural, open space and many ways to experience it.

From impressive waterfalls to expansive forests and from breathtaking beaches to spectacular crags, the natural wonders in Tasmania can’t be found anywhere else in the world. There’s hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, all performed in this impressive natural habitat.

Tasmania has culture, too. Hobart is the main city on the island, and it offers unique dining opportunities (like barbeques), distilleries specializing in whiskey and gin, and beer brewed only on the island. The city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something fun for travelers to do when they’re done exploring in nature.

Places to visit in Australia
Visit Tasmania in Australia

Plan a trip to Australia soon

Visiting Australia is a fun time and, for some travelers, will make their dreams come true. No matter their reason for traveling, they can start planning now to visit Australia soon!

Check out the below posts for more tips and places to visit in Australia:


Top Places to Visit in Belgrade, Serbia

Over the past few years the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, has become increasingly popular with visitors who want to get a real taste of the Balkans.

Unfortunately there are not many guide books which cover this amazing city which makes it a bit difficult to plan a trip in advance and know which places to visit in Belgrade.

Over the past five years I have spent quite a few months in Belgrade and if I had to come up with the five best things to check out for a first time visitor it would look something like this:

Places to visit in Belgrade, Serbia
View of Belgrade city from Danube river – depositphotos.com

Places to visit in Belgrade

Here are the best types of places to visit in Belgrade!

A Café

Belgraders love going for a coffee. You will find cafés on every corner and they are always packed with people. “Going for a coffee” can easily mean sitting around for a few hours, chatting with friends, watching passers-by and being watched.

Check out the various places on the central pedestrian Knez Mihailova street, the beautiful art-deco Hotel Moskva (Terazije 20), the distinctly 19th century “Ruski Car” (Obilicev venac 29), or the alternative “Centrala” (ul. Simina 6).

Places to visit in Belgrade, Serbia
Old Town Central Street in Belgrade – depositphotos.com

A Fast Food Place

Serbians love meat and they love their fast food places. Once you have tasted a typical Balkan burger you will never want to go back to the likes of McDonald’s.

Try a “gurmanska pljeskavica” (beef patty with cubes of bacon and cheese worked in); there’s nothing better than that after a night out. Recommended places include “Loki” (corner of ul. Kralja Petra and ul. Gospodar Jovanova), “Sis” (ul. Goce Delceva 27), and “Stepin Vajat” (ul. Vojvode Stepe 2I).

A Pub

Belgrade is renowned for its nightlife and what better way to start your night out than with a cool beer or a nice cocktail. Streets like Obilicev venac or Strahinica bana offer plenty of bars and pubs. The latter is dubbed “Silicone Valley” for the high number of silicone-enhanced goods on display at night.

If you’re looking for something a bit more hidden, try to find “Klub Svetskih Putnika” (also known as “The Federal Association of Globe Trotters”; bul. Despota Stefana 7). For a traditional atmosphere with gypsy music you will have to go to a “kafana“, e.g. “Blek panters” (Ada Ciganlija).

A Club

When you’ve had a few drinks and the night is still young, then you should head out to the clubs. Definitely check out the rafts (“splavovi“) on the Sava and Danube rivers. They are a bit mainstream and a bit more expensive but typical for Belgrade (a popular one includes “Freestyler“; fair warning: do not chat up random girls in these places, this could end badly).

If you’re looking for a more alternative crowd check out the clubs in the centre, e.g. “Francuska Sobarica” (ul. Francuska 12), “Siprazje” (ul. Golsvordijeva 13) or “Corba Kafe” (ul. Bra?e Krsmanovi?a 3; good live music).

Note that many of these clubs may be temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Something Else

And now that I have talked in length about options for food and drinks, I realize I should probably also recommend something that better fits the word “sight”.

So, when in Belgrade these are the things to see:

  • Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Temple of Saint Sava
  • Saint Marko’s Church
  • Museum of Nikola Tesla
  • House of Flowers/Tito Memorial
  • Ada Ciganlija
  • Palace of Kneginja Lubica

… phew, that’s more than enough for a few days in Belgrade!

For more places to visit in the Balkans, check out these posts:


Places to Stay Cool in Barcelona in Summer

Barcelona in summer is a truly toasty time to be in the city, with temperatures soaring and endless days of sunshine for months on end.

While the warm, summer weather is always well-appreciated, sometimes all you want is somewhere to cool off!

Grab your abanico (traditional Spanish fan) and read on to find out our top recommendations of how to stay cool in Barcelona in Summer!

Places to cool off in Barcelona in summer

Montjuïc Municipal Pool

This iconic pool was the host of the diving events of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games and is now open to the public to cool off in the Spanish sunshine during summer.

It has some of the best views in Barcelona – you can see right out to the mountains, with Tibidabo, the Sagrada Familia, and the Torre Agbar at your feet.

The entry price is pretty reasonable at €6.5 for a full day’s entry for adults, €4.5 for 6–14-year-olds, and kids under 5 go free! The pool is open from the start of July until the first week of September, from 11am-6.30pm.

Illa Fantasia Water Park

Barcelona in summer is all about splashing around in water – whether it’s at the beach, in a swimming pool or at a waterpark!

Slide into ultimate summer fun with the Illa Fantasia Waterpark! It has 22 slides and 3 large swimming pools to enjoy, which is sure to keep the whole family cool on a hot summer’s day.

The Park is open every day from June to September from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are €29 for adults, €17 for young adults shorter than 120cm, and free for kids under 90cm! Book tickets online here.

The Beach!

One of the best parts of Barcelona is its array of excellent beaches. There are 7 main beaches that line the city, stretching for over 4.5 km.

Our favourite beaches are the Nova Icària beach, and Bogatell. These beaches are less crowded than the better known Barceloneta and are locals’ favourites! They have volleyball nets, sun loungers, and a range of beach bars.

Check out our post on the best beaches in Barcelona!

PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park

Another fantastic water park near to Barcelona is the PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park. It is near to the town of Salou, near Tarragona, around an hour away from Barcelona.

There are numerous slides, a wave pool, lazy river, as well as an indoor area with kids’ attractions too. There’s fun for the whole family here! Tickets are €29 for adults, and €16 for juniors and seniors for the entire day. Book tickets online here.

Related Read: Water sports in Barcelona

Cool Eats and Drinks

IceBarcelona

Experience the ultimate way to cool down in Summer, in the world’s first ice bar on the beach! Found just next to the hot sands of Barceloneta beach, Barcelona’s ice bar is as cold as they come – it maintains a year-round temperature of between -5 and -10 degrees Celsius.

You’ll be given an artic-style jacket and a pair of gloves upon entry (which will feel incredibly strange in the height of summer!). The bar has impressive ice sculptures to admire too: from polar bears to a frosty version of the Sagrada Familia.

Ice bar IceBarcelona, Spain.
Ice bar IceBarcelona, Spain.

Makamaka Beach Bar

If you decide to head for a beach day to enjoy the warm weather, make sure to head to Makamaka for a bite to eat afterwards. It’s a favourite with both locals and visitors alike, loved for its laid-back beach style and delicious food.

It’s located just off the Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches, serving tasty burgers and thirst-quenching drinks. We recommend grabbing a pitcher of cava sangria for the ultimate cool down!

Makamaka Beach Bar in Barcelona.
@makamakabcn

Vai Moana

Another great beach bar just next to the Bogatell Beach is the fantastic Vai Moana. It has a traditional menu of Catalan and Spanish dishes, as well as a great cocktail menu. We recommend their ‘Frozen Mr.Beach’, which has Bacardi, coconut cream, pineapple juice, and vanilla syrup – the perfect way to cool down after a beach day!

Take a seat in the shade and relax to the cool surfer vibe in the day, and funky tunes as the evening draws in.

If you love tapas, then make sure to check out these cheap tapas bars in Barcelona.

Vai Moana in Barcelona.

Cool Treats

Gelaaati Di Marco

Located in the heart of Barcelona, Gelaaati di Marco is a treasured ice cream parlour that a hot summer’s day calls for. They have an enormous variety of flavours to choose from, that are all 100% natural with no additives or preservatives.

Gelaaati Di Marco in Barcelona.

Manna Gelats

Famed as one of the best spots in Barcelona for ice cream, Manna Gelats is a must visit during summer. They’re an artisan ice cream parlour that specialise in tropical flavours, as well as delicious crepes, waffles, and brownies too.

Check out these spots for the best ice cream in Barcelona!

Manna Gelats in Barcelona, Spain.
Manna Gelats in Barcelona, Spain.

Looking for more Barcelona travel tips? Check out these posts:


Best Places for Silver Staycation

A movie mini-break screen staycation is an amazing experience.

Imagine being transported to another world while relaxing with a movie; a silver screen staycation enhances the experience by allowing you to visit your favorite movie scenes.

Visiting these incredible sights has a few quirks, such as where to go and how much it costs. Betway compiled for us the list of some of the best silver screen Staycations and the cost of visiting each.

Canto Bight

This glitzy coastal city is adored by nearly all Star Wars fans.

Because it is one of the galaxy’s most opulent casinos, wealthy individuals spend a great deal of time there. From the thrill of the Farhiers race to the pleasure of winning coins in the casinos, this location has a lot to offer.

It’s one of the most costly Staycations on the silver screen, with a price tag of £219’464.25. This cost is based on renowned and wealthy people’s hangouts, such as booking a 5-star hotel and feeding.

Isla Nublar

Jurassic World is the realization of a lot of people’s dreams, especially for kids who are fascinated by dinosaurs.

Consider how it feels to be in the same place as these wonderful, breathtaking creatures. As incredible as it may feel, safety is always a major concern for most people but Isla Nublar is “very safe”.

Betway estimated the visiting cost to be about £15’500, perfect for people with a budget ranging from £15’000 to £20’000.

Los Angeles 2019

This futuristic silver screen staycation is based on the narrative of a Los Angeles in November 2019.

This may lead you to believe Blade Runner: LA 2019 will be simple to figure out, yet it may be virtually completely unrelated to what you might expect. For example, the beautiful haze of downtown LA is replaced by darkness and perpetual rain, and there are no animals, so you won’t see any furry companions. Hover cars are another unique feature of this location.

Betway used the reality of modern-day Tokyo to forecast the cost of a silver screen staycation in Los Angeles 2019. Because hover cars do not yet exist, vehicles are used. The estimate is only £1’131.82, which is an excellent value given the wonderful experiences on offer.

The Overlook Hotel

Another fantastic place to visit is the Overlook Hotel. It’s a magnificent setting with breathtaking views of the Colorado mountains.

Because it is secluded, it is an excellent silver screen staycation away from the rush and bustle of everyday life. This can make it eerie or scary for visitors, but if you choose this place, you will enjoy an extremely tranquil atmosphere that is far removed from the stress of daily life.

Because Colorado’s Stanley Hotel served as inspiration for the original novel, Betway calculated the cost of visiting The Overlook Hotel using information from the hotel’s official website. Other costs include flights, insurance, and so forth. It is projected that the total cost will be £2’575.39. This is substantially less expensive than Canto Bight, making it more accessible to a wider range of individuals while still providing fantastic experiences.

Wakanda

The release of Black Panther in 2018 was met with a lot of excitement, with spectacular mountains, waterfalls, grasslands, and other scenery.

It is one of the newest silver screen Staycations, thus it is largely undiscovered by tourists, so you will get the most out of what it has to offer. It is a perfect location for those who enjoy both the countryside and the city.

Its stunning purple sunsets, as well as its cutting-edge technology, are sights to behold.

Nairobi is the closest real-world equivalent of Wakanda, therefore the cost estimate was based on it. £1’096.36 is the estimate.

Hogsmeade

For all Harry Potter fans and lovers of enchanted places, this is a tempting silver screen staycation.

Hogsmeade, Britain’s lone wizarding village, contains charming little thatched homes with snow-covered slanted roofs. There are also floating candles to guide you around the houses and streets, adding a touch of magic.

With an estimated cost of £194, this is possibly the cheapest silver screen staycation you’ll ever get. It may not have the high-class status of Canto Bight or LA 2019, but for magic fans, the experience is unique, especially at £194.

Conclusion

Each silver screen staycation presented above has its peculiarities, covering a wide range of people. The cost estimate provided by the team at Betway is based on the closest realities to the location hence it is highly representative.

Consider your interests and budget when choosing the perfect staycation.


Best Places to Visit in the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Fortunately, there is no such thing as the ultimate vacation scenario, as everyone has their own idea of what a dream holiday is.

Yes, planning a getaway would be much easier if there would be some universal answer, there is no arguing that. But life would be so much duller that cost just doesn’t justify the means.

However, there are several popular ideas on what makes a perfect trip setting. For some people, it’s the tropical paradise from the Bounty chocolate bar commercial, while others long for the unique larger-than-life atmosphere of the capital cities. Quite a few dream of snow, fjords, and the miracle of aurora borealis.

And, the gem of Italy, the stunning Amalfi Coast is definitely one of the most interesting options on the list of the favored vacation destinations. And with so many incredible places to visit in the Amalfi Coast, it’s no surprise!

The picturesque coastline seems to belong to another world, a window to a paradise realm from a different universe. The pure beauty of the sceneries takes your breath away even if you’ve been to this remarkable region multiple times before.

Everything seems to be too good to be true: nature, food, limoncello liqueur, and brilliant sights, so deciding what should go on your must-see vacation list can be rather challenging.

So, let’s explore some of the most interesting options to look for with Italy vacation packages

Best Places to Visit in the Amalfi Coast: Sights Not to Miss

It’s bold (to say the least) to assume that someone can visit all the impressive landmarks of the region during one holiday, so why not start with something less ambitious?

For example, you can pick three interesting places you would like to visit for your first trip, and it will leave you some time to enjoy a gastronomic tour, explore the cities you’ve chosen for your stay, and set off on some impromptu excursions. 

Blue Grotto on Capri Island

A stunning natural wonder, the Blue Grotto, is an extraordinary sea cave that can easily become the highlight of your trip. This magical natural wonder belongs to another planet and feels like a setting for one of the Doctor Who episodes. 

The entrance to this not-so-secret landmark hardly stands out, two meters wide and about a meter high, so you need an experienced guide to get inside. Visitors have to lie on the bottom of a rowboat to be able to get in, but this minor inconvenience is well worth the stunning beauty that waits for them inside. Upon entering, they see a wide cave going deep into the cliff and illuminated by the rich blue light, coming from the seawater, so clean it seems impossible.

In the Roman times, this place was a bathing hole of the second Roman emperor and looked more civilized – decorated with sculptures (two of them you can find in Anacapri museum) and boasting a few resting areas, but time erased the traces of luxury, and the Blue Grotto now seems as untouched as it once was.

Cathedral of Saint Andrew & Cloister of Paradise

The city of Amalfi boasts plenty of fascinating sights, but if you don’t have much time and have to pick just one of them to explore thoroughly – check out the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, also knows simply as Amalfi Cathedral.

It’s probably one of the most visited places in the Amalfi Coast.

You won’t miss it, because the sight is a real head-turner, dominating the views of the Piazza del Duomo, the heart of Amalfi.

To be fair, a place like that, combining unique style, fascinating history, and unparalleled cultural heritage, makes quite a bizarre sight, neighboring with cozy and always busy streets filled with shops and cafes. But such an interesting position only adds to its charm.

The cathedral houses the relics of Apostle Saint Andrew, and its interiors can make even seasoned travelers gape in awe. 

Cloister of Paradise, adjusted to the cathedral is also an interesting sight to stop by. This beautiful place is a small garden with palm trees and amazing flowers, the kingdom of green and blossom, and it was designed as a graveyard for the rich merchants of Amalfi, but it’s nothing like any cemetery you’ve seen before.

This island of tranquility is surrounded by a majestic peristyle, supported by over a hundred columns. During your visit, make sure to keep an eye out for the ancient sarcophagi, nestled around the cloister. 

Vallone delle Ferriere

Even if you are not a big nature fan, take a short break from the famous sandy beaches of the Amalfi Coast and give the famous Vallone delle Ferriere hike a chance.

A truly remarkable way to see a different side of Amalfi, enjoy some breathtaking views, and take advantage of a few unique photo opportunities. Don’t worry, no special physical training is needed to explore the trail, it’s relatively easy and mostly descending

The path will lead you through a beautiful valley where you can see the ancient ruins of the medieval foundries, passing old water mills (once the engine, powering the world-famous paper industry of Amalfi) and majestic waterfalls. The whole hike takes about three hours, and it’s better to set off early in the morning if the day promises to be hot.

The best advice I can give you – wear your trainers and don’t forget your swimming suit, and make sure to thank me later! 

As you can see, even these three places to visit in the Amalfi Coast, a bare minimum of an Amalfi Coast tour, already make a fantastic reason to choose this sun-kissed vacation as your next holiday destination!

But you can rest assured, that there is so much more to see and do there, that you will want to come back to this unique Italian region time and time again.

Top Places to Visit in Colombia

There are so many incredible places to visit in Colombia!

If you’re going to be visiting anytime soon, here’s a list of the must-do’s when you visit Colombia!

Related Read: Undiscovered EcoTourism Destinations in Colombia

Top Places to Visit in Colombia

1. Cabo de la Vela

Welcome to the “Wild West” of Colombia. Home of the Wayuu people, Cabo de la Vela is truly a unique and wonderful place to visit. This is where the desert meets the sea. Spend your days hiking to wild and unique beaches. Spend your evenings lounging under the star filled skies in a chinchorro (a large, comfortable hammock with a built in cover, made by local Wayuu women). Eat fresh, daily caught lobster and fish. Greet the goats, iguanas, lizards and crabs as you explore the beaches “Ojo de Agua,” “Pilon de Azucar” and rocky cliffs overlooking the expansive Caribbean Ocean at the northern edge of the South American continent.

Cabo de la Vela is one of those places to visit in Colombia that is well worth the journey.

2. Bahia Aguacate

Literally “Avocado Bay” this gem of a destination is truly where the jungle meets the sea. Set amidst palm trees and lush tropical forest, Bahia Aguacate offers amazing ocean views with craggy rock outcroppings against a backdrop of dazzling blue waters and bluer skies. Bahia Aguacate is a breathtaking hour walk from Capurgana, a small fishing village that boasts of a hopping nightlife on the weekends.

A short boat ride away from Capurgana is La Miel, the first successful European settlement on the mainland of the Americas, 1510. From there, take a 30 minute hike across to border back into Colombia, to the picturesque beach town of Sapzurro. This corner of the continent is reachable only by plane or speedboat, so this spot has retained its rugged beauty.

If you are looking to feel the sun, swim in crystal blue waters, and hear only the sounds of the waves and the ocean breeze, Bahia Aguacate is the destination for you!

3. Mesa de Los Santos

Located in the State or “Departamento” of Santander, about an hour south of Bucaramanga, Mesa de los Santos, “The Plateau of the Saints,” was once home to the Guane and is rich in history, culture and beauty. The Mesa butts up against the Chicamocha Canyon, the largest canyon in Colombia.

Hiking along the Mesa is like a journey back in time. Pre-Colombian petroglyphs, caves for spelunking and amazing views. One can almost imagine how it would feel to live here among the multicolored sand and rocks, stunning blue skies and yawning canyons as the Guane once did. Rock climb at perhaps one of the world’s best sites – La Mojarra – enjoy the sweetest pineapple you’ve ever had or just experience some of the most amazing topography in Colombia.

Whatever you brings you to Colombia, you must visit Mesa de Los Santos!

Places to visit in Colombia - Mesa de Los Santos
Mesa de Los Santos in Colombia

4. Palomino

Another one of the great places to visit in Colombia with a beach.

Palomino is a deserted beach, the deltas of two large and beautiful rivers surging with wildlife, a one of a kind mountain range, reflecting the morning sun. In Palomino, you will find all of this and more! A sleepy town northeast of Santa Marta, is where you can go for peace and relaxation.

Plan a day trip to hike part way up the Sierra Nevada and float down the lazy Palomino River always to the Caribbean Ocean. Stay at one of the all inclusive beachfront lodgings and enjoy nighttime walks along the beach where the sand “sparkles” with static electricity at every step! Or just enjoy solitude and sunshine on the beach.

If you are looking to “get away from it all” Palomino is the perfect place in Colombia to refresh your body and soul!

5. Barichara

Barichara is by far one of the most charming small towns or “pueblos” in Colombia. Located in the Santander region, Barichara’s white washed buildings with traditional rock “zocalos”, or baseboards, steps one back in time.

Men in traditional garb linger on park benches while children wander home from school, savoring afternoon ice cream.  Barichara, originally named “Barachalá” by the native Guane, meaning “a good place to rest” – an appropriate description of this lovely town. Don’t miss the “Camino Real Guane,” a path from Barichara to the very small pueblo of Guane.

In this case, the journey is the destination, as the views are incredible and the stone pathway is filled with age old fossils. Barichara is also home to the “Hormigas Culonas” or Big Booty Ants, a delicacy of the region. These ants are farmed locally and are eaten pan fried, as snacks, on steak, in a delicious sauce or just about any way. If you are looking to experience a small, colonial Colombian pueblo with lots of character, don’t miss Barichara!

6. Cartagena de Indias

Located on the Caribbean Colombian coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena for short, is most famous for its preserved downtown, the “ciudad amurallada” or walled city. With horse drawn carriages, colonial architecture, international cuisine and boutique hotels, Cartagena attracts tourists from all over the world.

Historically, Cartagena was the most important Spanish port in South America where all the gold was stored and later shipped to Spain. This lent to the fortification of the city, preventing invasion from English and French official and non-official attacks. Today, the city walls welcome countless national and international tourists making it the most popular tourist destination in Colombia. If you want unsurpassed history, a caribbean feel and a conglomeration of tastes, Cartagena travel delivers!

Places to visit in Colombia
Cartagena in Colombia

7. Coffee Triangle

Usually when one thinks of Colombia, two words come to mind: Coffee and that other “C” word.

The best coffee in the world is grown, handpicked, washed, roasted and packaged here in everything from giant, mass production operations to small, family owned farms. The coffee triangle or “Eje Cafetero” is a large area covering the middle of Colombia. Here the Andes Mountains provide the best topography for growing the many varieties of Arabica coffee. Enjoy a cultural coffee tour or take a tour through a large direct exporting operation, both providing a different look at the business of coffee.

Countless, centenarian Haciendas dot the country side and the hills are lush with coffee, guayacan, mandarin and plantain trees. Starting from the northern most point of Manizales, down to Pereira and then swinging to the east to Armenia, the region hosts many localized customs, traditions and peoples.

Calling all coffee lovers! The coffee triangle is waiting for you! Don’t let it wait long!

8. Valle de Cocora

Wax Palm trees, check. Breathtaking views, check. Tourist trap, double check.

To be fair, Valle de Cocora doesn’t have to be tourist trap but it’s definitely a must places to visit in Colombia. This is why it attracts large flocks of national and international tourists all wanting to see the Colombian national tree and tallest palm trees in the world.

The best time to visit Salento, the jump off point to the valley, is during the week. However, if you’re a professional people watcher or enjoy shopping for handicraft souvenirs in very boutique type shops, Sunday is the day to show up.

The valley is best hiked and one should start early enough to not miss the return Jeeps to town. Head north once you’re at the top and come down the Valle de las Palmas or Valley of the Palms. As the name implies, this is where the majority of the wax palms will be found. The trek down is magnificent with breathtaking views of the entire valley, best to be done as the sun is close to setting. The wax palms shimmer and rustle in the wind. A river runs through the valley and adds a refreshing coldness in the heat of the valley.

Truly a unique place with an even more unique flora.

9. Santiago de Cali

Dubbed the Salsa Capital of the World, Santiago de Cali, Cali for short, is the third largest urban center in Colombia and sits snuggly in the Valle del Cauca, the largest valley in Colombia.

The Feria de Cali, held the last week of each year, is the main tourist attraction for the city with salsa concerts and “rumba” or partying being its main focus. Bull fights, parades and other shows round out the festivities. The nightlife in Cali is world famous and the main reason to come.

If you’re a salsa aficionado, interested in taking lessons from world champions or hanging out in a legendary salsa club, Cali is your go to destination. Every day of the week offers a club or two or more with booming sound systems playing Salsa, Reggeaton, Merengue and even Champeta.

Cali is also a great jump off point to visit Lago Calima, the top kite and windsurfing destination in Colombia and other points South, such as Popayan, San Augustin and Pasto.

With a tropical daytime heat and a cool nightly breeze, it’s a partier’s paradise.

10. Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal

Colombia’s unique geography gifts it with many thermal springs and this one is above and beyond the best places to visit in Colombia for a thermal spring experience. Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal are actually two sites: one more private with a hotel, and another one that is for day users.

Both source all of their water from thermal springs up high in the mountains where the water temperature is at a scorching 190 F/88 C degrees. The hot cascade then merges with  an ice cold waterfall, and is then routed to the baths. At the hotel site, there are private baths that accommodate up to four people, and an outdoor shower for those staying in the original part of the hotel.

The hottest section of the main pool is adjacent to the waterfall  at 100 F/37 C degrees. Pools further from the waterfall are progressively cooler. Next to the “coolest” pool is an ice cold waterfall, a lovely place to cool off and increase circulation after languishing in the warmth of the thermals.

With a full service food section, plenty of space to move around, and numerous pools of healing thermal water, Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal is a perfect way to add relaxation to your Colombia trip.


Best Places to Play Padel in Barcelona

When you’re in a park in Barcelona, you will quickly notice just how many people are staying active, either with running or working out.

The city is obsessed with it.

Over the years, the local councils and governing bodies have put a lot of money into ensuring that people can quench their thirst for exercise and maximise their potential. One of the other things that you will also realise in most parks, is that there are enclosed courts with people playing a sport called Padel.

This sport is one of the most famous in Spain and parts of Latin America. It offers a great alternative to tennis and squash in Barcelona. However, if you are from a country where Padel isn’t well-played, then you may have little to no knowledge on how to play it. Therefore, we thought best to shed light on the topic, so that you can…

Enjoy a game of Padel in Barcelona on your next visit to the city:

History of padel

The sport began in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The idea was to make a new game that people could play instead of tennis. However, he wanted the sport to be played in an enclosed space that would enable two players to compete on the ‘same side’ of the court as they tried to out maneuver the opposition into committing an error. The sport would soon cross the atlantic, to parts of Southern Portugal and Spain, becoming very popular in the process. Corcuera mapped out a 10 by 20 metre court in his home, building enclosing walls along each side of this court. Shortly after the rules were finalised, padel was brought to Spain by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe after spending a holiday at Corcuera’s house. Prince Alfonso made the game able to thrive at his Marbella Club hotel, spreading from here- Spain was hooked.

How to play

The first and founding set of rules were proposed by Viviana Dellavedova Corcuera, Enrique’s partner! The rules are basically the same as in tennis except serves are underarm and the ball can bounce off the walls that surround the court. Similar to tennis, volleys are encouraged to make a more exciting and competitive match! Point scoring is the same as tennis, meaning that the game comes very naturally to anyone with some familiarity with tennis! 

Where to play Padel in Barcelona: 

Fairplay Padel Club

The first of places to play padel in Barcelona, is Fairplay Padel Club of Montjuic, which offers eight courts where you can take classes, participate in leagues, events and tournaments. Whatever level you want to get to/experience, you can’t go wrong here.

Location: Carrer del Foc, 2, 08038 Barcelona

Club Natació Atlétic-Barceloneta

How does this sound, playing a game of padel right on the beach, not bad right? Well, let us introduce you to Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta! Offering four wonderful courts, it makes for the most ideal location to have a friendly game of padel whilst enjoying the ocean breeze. With flexible prices, you can be assured to find your match here!

Location: Plaça del Mar, 08003 Barcelona

Club Tennis De La Salut

Despite being known as a tennis club in Barcelona, Club Tennis De La Salut also offers 9 padel courts. You can even bring your kids here to have a go at a new sport in a friendly environment. As well as padel, this club offers fitness classes for members and non-members alike, giving you a chance to warm-up well before hitting the court!

Location: Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 75, 08024 Barcelona

Meetup

Meetup is an app that gets people who share similar interests together. It is used for all things from art classes to book clubs, this app can also be used to connect people who want to play tennis or padel. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye out for a padel Meetup group to meet new people and improve your game on your next visit to Barcelona!


Croatia restaurant

Top Places in Croatia | Traveldudes.org

 

It’s difficult to know where to start, but these are my top 3 places in Croatia – posted online in the hope that others find this useful.

They are in no particular order, but I’d strongly advise you to visit them all!

I was only in the area for a week, and these are all easily accessible from Split, which was my nominal base for the week (I moved around a fair bit but flew in and out of Split International airport).

1. Hvar

This is a beautiful little island with everything you would expect for a tine place tht has been inhabited since Roman time – cute little squares, tiny walkways through castle-like walls.  It has fantastic views (especially from up high, if you make the slog up the hill to the fort), with 360 degrees of sea.

The best bit about Hvar is the food though – with tens of hte very best restaurants in the Med clammering your your attention (and your wallet!).  It’s not a cheap place to eat, but I would definitley recommend Agava, amongst others.  It is THE standout restaurant.

2. Trogir

I loved the feel of Trogir.  There is an old town that is literally on its own island (and a UNESCO-heritage site), brilliant beaches, and a nightlife that keeps you up until way past your bedtime – especially if you’re a fan of euro-trance like I am!

3. Krka

I’ve seen lots of waterfalls in my time, but with these tehre is so much going on – it’s basically 7 different waterfalls piled on top of each other.  The approach by boat from Skradin is also nice, as is the fact that instead of piling to see them all and pushing through the crowd, you can just head up to them on your boat. 🙂

 

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