We at Willamette Intl Travel love tried and true destinations like these! Interested in one (or more) of the places below? Give us a ring! 503-224-0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Willamette Intl Travel love tried and true destinations like these! Interested in one (or more) of the places below? Give us a ring! 503-224-0180 or email email@example.com.
With the Summer Olympics coming on, Rio de Janeiro is more popular than ever. With beautiful beaches and a vivacious flavor, it’s no wonder why this amazing city attracts millions of visitors each year. Rio is a fantastic destination and a favorite port-of-call of many a cruise ship—but do you know everything there is to know about the Cidade Maravilhosa? Here are 10 things we’re sure you didn’t know:
1. The River of January. Rio de Janeiro translates to “River of January” in Portuguese, the month that it was discovered by Portugal. That said, locals are called Cariocas, a word that derives from kara’i oka (in the indigenous Tupi tongue, “white man’s house”).
2. There are more than 30 miles of beaches in Rio. Rio’s beaches are world-renowned for their clean and soft sand, and so conveniently accessible from most hotels and hostels. Along the beach you’ll also find a plethora of rental tents and chairs, wet trails, free showers, bars and cafes. Soak in the sun at Copacabana and Ipanema, the more popular of the beaches. You can practice your surfing skills or down a sanduíche natural, a cold sandwich with vegetables and mayo. Prefer to avoid the crowd? Opt for Leblon, the quieter sister beach but equally as beautiful.
3. The city is divided into three zones. The Zona Norte, the older Centro and the beach-lined Zona Sul. n the North, you’ll find a few monuments of note, like the Zoo, National Museum and the Observatory. In the Center, you’ll find the historic churches, monuments and squares at the city’s old waterfront. The South is where you’ll find the bulk of its famous beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon.
4. The city’s drink of choice is the Cafezinho. The cafezinho is a popular welcome drink in Brazil, and are often imbibed at work, in the home, and sophisticated boutiques. The minute you walk into any door, don’t be surprised if someone asks you “você quer um cafezinho?” (Do you want a cafezinho?) When in Rome! Do as the Brazilians do and pair a cafezinho (little espresso) with a pão de queijo (cheese bread). There’s an excellent café in Leblon called Cafeína to do just that.
5. The Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, was created in 1918 as a cure for the Spanish flu. Cachaça, hard liquor distilled from sugarcane, is blended with sugar and lime to create the masterful and succulent Caipirinha. The name originates from the word caipira, or “hillbilly.”
6. It took 9 years to complete Christ the Redeemer. Finished in 1931 on Mt. Corcovado’s peak, it’s become the cultural icon for both Rio and Brazil. Pre-10AM is the best time to check out the statue—best to avoid the queues and crowds—so hop in a taxi your first morning in Rio. It has been dubbed one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
7. “The Girl from Ipanema” was inspired from an actual girl. Songwriters Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes teamed up to write the lyrics to the song when they were struck by the beauty of a seventeen-year-old girl named Heloísa.
Interested in Brazil and Beyond? Call us up for a chat about South American Travel! Call 503-224-0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Nicholas Bittencourt, Christian Haugen, Diego f. Garcia and Deni Williams.
Yesterday the United States was glued to their screens as the XLVII Super Bowl raged on! Did your team win? Did you know that many tour operators can arrange custom packages for you during major events? From the Super Bowl to the World Cup, there is a variety of special sport events, festivals, and races around which we can design your travel! Our travel partners can arrange exclusive travel experiences during these major events, so you’re right in the action!
And remember: if you aren’t attending the event, best to stay away from the destination during this time as there are sure to be enthusiastic crowds!
MASTERS IN AUGUSTA
Join the pros at the Augusta Golf Tournament, held in April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Founded by Bobby Jones in 1933, it’s a dream for every avid golfer everywhere, and rival only to the Old Course at St. Andrews. Watch the greatest golfers in the world as they plan on the emerald green. Combine the event with a few relaxing days at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Lodge, with its gorgeous lake villas or Mediterranean style lodge villas around the stunning Lake Oconee. Put the ball on the famous Great Waters Course, a 7,073 yard, par-72 layout course that hosted the 41st PGA Professional National Championship in 2008.
Dates: April 11-14, 2013
THE KENTUCKY DERBY
Kensington Tours hosts guests during the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. Take your reserved seat in the most famous horse race in the United States, and root for your winning stallion amid the mighty roar of the crowd. Tours are tiered based on seats at Churchill Downs—from Clubhouse Seating, Grandstands, Grandstands Orange to the luxurious VIP Suites. Arrangements are full customizable, and can include transfers, shuttles, accommodation, upgraded tickets, bourbon distillery tours and horse farm tours.
Dates: May 4, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FIESTA
New Mexico hosts one of the world’s most photographed events in October. Join Collette or Globus on a tour of sound and color. Enjoy the incredible mass ascension and race as the colorful balloons take off. At night, the balloons burn fires during the Balloon Glow and follow up with a fireworks show. Go on a balloon ride yourself on the Sandia Peak Tram, the world’s longest aerial tramway. In addition to the main event, your hosts will take you through the unique markets and streets of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Visit the International Balloon Museum, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the beautiful Turquoise Trail.
Dates: October 5-13, 2013
TOURNAMENT OF ROSES
Pasadena holds their famous Tournament of Roses annually in winter. Be up-close and personal in the parade on a reserved seat and get a sneek-peek of final touches on the gargantuan floats. Celebrate the season with New Year’s Eve Gala dinner dance with live entertainment and champagne. Afterwards, enjoy a farewell dinner on board the RMS Queen Mary, or take a guided tour through the Getty Museum or the Ronald Regan Presidential Library.
Dates: December, 2013
BRAZIL WORLD CUP
The 20th FIFA World Cup will be a soccer (for our international readers, football) tournament hosted in Brazil in 2014. As the first World Cup held in South America since Argentina’s in 1978, the continent is understandably excited and already making plans. Kensington Tours have created an exclusive collection of customizable Brazil tours around your soccer experience that are based out of Rio de Janeiro. Transport yourself to the heart of history on Brazilian soil. Pair with a destination expert. Explore natural beaches, rainforest safaris and cultural highlights. Be part of football history. You can even follow your team around the country as they race to the championship.
Dates: June 13-20, 2014; June 20-27, 2014; June 27-July 5, July 7-14.
This has been a fun and fabulous year at Willamette International Travel, and our agents are just as excited about 2013! Here are our top destinations to watch next year:
Iceland—land of midnight suns, eerie landscapes, wild frontier. Iceland has some of the finest natural wonders available to see in a small area. In 2008, the government established Europe’s largest national Park, Vatnajökull, covers about 12,000 square km. Visit ice caps and glaciers, spewing geysers, sulphuric deserts, golden falls, glacial lagoons, and some of the most dynamic volcanic activity you’ll ever see. During midsummer, the sun dips to the horizon, but never sets—and creates some gorgeous pale colors in the night sky. Visit hip Reykjavik and the therapeutic Blue Lagoon. Don’t miss Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, where the Vikings held their seat of government; or Snæfellsjökull National Park and its ice-smothered volcanic crater. The recent currency crash, devaluing the krona by nearly 75%, has opened up Iceland to travelers mindful of their budget. Beat the majority of tourist throngs by booking this year.
Brush up on: Icelandic. English is widely understood however, especially by the younger generations.
Bring: rainproof coat, sturdy walking shoes or rubber boots, leggings
Wittravel can customize some great adventures and assist you with airfare, accommodation, and car for traveling the fabled Ring Road.
2. SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is an island that is recovering quite rapidly from a decade of civil conflict and the devastating 2004 tsunami. Let not the long flight from the continental USA deter you—Sri Lanka is an incredible destination. The tourism industry is stretching its wings, prices are affordable, low-cost flights from Bangkok, tickets are still affordable with much to see. There’s an array of topographies, climates, wildlife zones. Sri Lanka is a land where 2000+ years of culture and history is packed in just 25,000 square miles—from temples, old-style villages, green tea plantations, wild jungles, and coconut beaches. Head over to Yala National Park for some spectacular safari experiences and spot water buffaloes, birds, primates, elephants and leopards. Surfing is quite popular, as is the hike up Adam’s Peak, a mountain considered sacred by 4 local religions. Wander through the old Buddhist ruins of Polonnaruwa from the 12th century, stroll the ramparts of Galle, say hello to the world’s oldest living tree, Anuradhapura. Try the local delicious curry, feast on seafood on Negombo beach, visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and scale the steep Sigiriya rock fortress.
Brush up on: Sinhala, Tamil. English is commonly used in official areas and spoken by about 10% of the population.
Bring: mosquito repellents and creams
WIT agent and owner Christina has traveled to Sri Lanka. Call her up for more information.
Georgia is a land of mountainous scenery, ancient churches and wine regions. The country’s complex history speaks in its cultural influences from Turkey, Persia, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe. Explore sophisticated Tbilisi and admire its unique, fragile architecture, then head over to Gori, Stalin’s hometown, which still reveres its most famous resident. Venture out of the main cities into the ancient Christian town of Mtskheta or the fertile wine region of Kakheti. Curious travelers should wander into the mysterious and beautiful region of Svaneti, renowned for its mountain villages, tower architecture, and remote village communities. If you have time, check out the lush and green Rioni region in the west hills–known in ancient times as Colchis, the land of the Golden Fleece. The capital of Kutaisi is worth a visit to see the magnificent Bagrati Cathedral, Gelati Monastery, and the Rioni river.
Brush up on: Georgian in most regions, Russian if you are traveling where ethnic minorities live.
Bring: Study and comfortable walking shoes for rough terrain. If you do any sort of traveling inside the country, expect to leave the main road.
The MIR railway company offers a great two-week itinerary through Armenia and Georgia starting around 4,000 per person.
4. TANZANIA + ZANZIBAR
Tanzania is probably known best for the Serengeti safari plains, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. There is no end to National Parks around the country, the northern ones tend to have more tourist infrastructure, while in the southern ones there are more wild fauna. Camping ranges from luxury tents to affordable ones. You can also visit numerous historical slave trade sites, kayak, scuba dive, or climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Spend a week traveling the plains of Tanzania and then retreat to the languid resorts on the isles of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago off of the fabled Indian Ocean. Zanzibar possesses a rich blend of African and Arabic heritage. There are a number of great resorts for indulging the traveler after a busy safari, and many fishing villages to keep you occupied. You may also explore Jozani Forest and its red Colobus monkeys or swim with dolphins off one of the many sandy beaches.
Brush up on: Swahili, Arabic (for Zanzibar). English is widely understood.
Bring: It tends to be very hot and dry in Zanzibar, so bring light, airy clothes that are still modest. The island tends to be conservative so be sure to pack a full body swimsuit!
We can recommend some top-level itineraries to Tanzania and Zanzibar. Our agents Pam, Linda, and Christina have been!
Peru is a diverse country both in landscape and culture. From the wildlife-rich Amazon Basin, to ancient Incan Ruins around Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu, the adventurous and curious traveler will never be idle. Wander through the streets of the colonial capital of Lima, sail on Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian Border, take to the sky and see the stunning Nazca Lines from the best bird view on offer. Peru is also home to some delicious and indigenous food—ceviche, rocoto relleno (meat-stuffed peppers), anticuchos (spiced grilled beef heart). If you’re brave, try a sampling of the infamous roasted guinea pig, and wash it down with the local cocktail pisco sour (grape brandy, lemon juice, egg whites, sugar).
Brush up on: Spanish, Quechua
Bring: anti-malarial medication
Avanti Destinations offers some great tour itineraries to Peru. Packages typically include tours, dinner, and transfers. Our agents Pam and Barb have been and would love to share their experiences with you.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world, with the area of square kilometers of 287,000 square miles. It’s divided among three countries: Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Borneo has long been a magnet for adventurers, naturalists and explorers. As a traveler, you can enjoy the plethora of adventures and wildlife the island has to offer. The highest peak is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, with an elevation of 13,435 feet. Enjoy a night safari in the Danum Valley, visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, cruise up Oxbow Lake, visit Selingan Island for the turtles, journey through rural Sarawak, share your evening with the Iban people at one of their longhouses. Borneo is also known for its major river and cave systems—Clearwater Cave has one of the world’ longest underground rivers, and Deer Cave is home to 3 million + bats, with guano accumulated to over 330 feet deep.
Brush up on: Malay. English is spoken widely throughout the country.
Bring: Clothing fit for a rainforest—long-sleeved shirts, sturdy boots, wide brimmed hats, full-length and quick-drying pants with pockets.
G Adventures has a number of itineraries to Borneo that range from 10-19 days in a variety of activity levels to suit the client. Sleep in a variety of jungle lodges, mountain huts, villa huts and permanent camps during your stay and experience real adventures on Borneo.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, and as expected of a country composed of 17,508 islands its regions are diverse both geographically and demographically. The most popular islands are Java, Sumatra, New Guinea, Sulawesi, and Bali. Tourists can venture out here for a real adventure. Catch glimpses of the legendary Komodo Dragon, visit golden temples in Yangon and Bagan, visit the fishermen of Inle Lake, go on a catamaran cruise or jungle safari. Indonesia has dozens of tropical forests, and when combined they make up the second largest rainforest in the world after Brazil’s. Shop around in the markets of Jakarta and Bali, or kickback in an idyllic villa in Ubud. A popular stop to Indonesia is Singapore. Spend a few days in the world’s busiest port, where it’s illegal to chew or sell gum.
Brush up on: The official language is Indonesian, but as expect with such a diverse landscape, there are 742 different languages and dialects.
Bring: Weather tends to be hot and humid, so pack lightweight, airy clothes.
Kensington Tours offers customizes tours to Indonesia for every type of traveler. They build in air and land transfers in your tour—important in an archipelago as large and diverse as Indonesia! Several of our agents have been—give us a call!
8. NEW ZEALAND
With the recent release of the Hobbit, New Zealand will be sure to attract even more attention in this coming year. The country has always been a haven for adventurers and active enthusiasts. From the Southern Alps culminating in the highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook, to the breathless beauty of Fiordland National Park and the gorgeous Milford Sound, there’s no shortage of natural wonder here. Travelers can climb the massive glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef, or venture into the towns of Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland. Head over to Rotorua and its landscape of geysers, hot springs, and volcanoes. Head south to the Catlins for some amazing glimpses of marine wildlife—penguins, albatross, seals, sea lions. Hike into the rainforests and see the isles’ unique animals: the kiwi, the takahe and the tuatara.
Brush up on: Maori. English is one of the official languages of New Zealand but there’s such a rich culture in Maori, and many place names are still in Maori.
Bring: You will definitely need a good pair of hiking boots to take full advantage of New Zealand’s famous outdoors.
Qantas Vacations offers self-driving itineraries in New Zealand, and Willamette Intl Travel can customize your travels by hand based on your preferences. Most of our agents have been and can provide you with firsthand knowledge and tips.
When it comes to tourism, Brazil is on the cusp of a gigantic boom. With worldwide events such as the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, travelers have already started looking and planning their itineraries. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, with diverse landscapes to match (and explore). About sixty percent of the Amazon Rainforest is within Brazil’s borders; it is also home to one of the world’s largest tropical wetlands, the Pantanal. Don’t miss Iguaçu Falls (check out both Brazil and Argentina sides for the full effect), go to a soccer match, or dare through Carnival, a giant festival of parades, costumes, and revelries in February or early March.
Brush up on: Brazilian Portuguese.
Bring: Slippers and swimsuits. If you enjoy Rio’s famous beach, you’ll definitely want to pack these.
Avanti Destinations offers some great tour itineraries to Peru, fully customizable! Give us a call for more specifics.
10. YOU PICK
What do you think will be one of the hottest destinations of 2013? Tell us in the comments!
Prospective travelers to Argentina may or may not be aware of the reciprocity tax required for travel.
Argentina began to charge this tax three years ago as a response to the fee charged by the USA on Argentine citizens for entry. Previously, one could buy this on arrival at the Buenos Aires airport. Beginning September 1, 2012, there have been changes made to the amount and the procedure to pay for this tax. Cost is now $140 and must be purchased online. Citizens of Canada and Australia are also required to pay online, though the price differs. The lack of a proof of payment will result in denial of entry and consequent returning to the departure city by the airline.
Travelers in transit, meaning those who arrive and leave the same calendar day, do not have to pay the tax. This includes cruise passengers who arrive for the day—tax only must be paid if there is an overnight stay involved.
If travelers have paid the tax before, it is valid for 10 years as long as they still have proof of payment.
The new online system will work parallel to the regular on-site collection service at Ezeiza Airport until December 28, 2012 and at Jorge Newbery Airport until October 31st, 2012. After these dates, the only collection method will be online.
How to Pay Argentina’s Reciprocity Tax
1) Register on the website: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/Registro.aspx
2) Complete the form with your credit card information. This is sent to the DNM (Immigration Office)
3) Print the payment receipt
4) Upon arrival in Argentine territory, show the printed ticket
5) The ticket is scanned and validated to enter the country
Explore the Capital. Rio de Janeiro is famous for Ipanema beach, the Christ the Redeemer statue, samba and caipirinha cocktails. Wander old cobblestone streets and enjoy the gorgeous, sophisticated atmosphere. Attend a colorful samba show, take a cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and tour to the churches, squares, palaces and monasteries that define Brazilian heritage.
Attend Carnaval in Rio. The wildest festival in the world is held forty-six days before Easter. Join the throngs of dancers and performers, enjoy the parades of costumed delights, and attend the fairy-tale Copacabana Palace Ball.
Watch a Soccer Game at Maracanã Stadium. With the 2014 World Cup arriving in Rio, now’s the perfect time to get into the sport all Brazilians love with a passion! Catch a game at the biggest stadium in the world, and feel the game spirit in 78,000 of your neighbors.
Wander Around Pelourinho. The charming, historic center of Salvador is home to delicately-crafted baroque churches and colonial architecture. Reflect on the solemn history of the city center, once the central plaza where African slaves once received punishment and discipline. Now you can walk around the district and enjoy fantastic cafes, live music, restaurants, gift shops and nightlife.
Kayak the Amazon. Join the thousands of naturalists and enthusiasts who have journeyed into the depths of the world’s largest rainforest. Speak with a knowledgeable guide, travel at your leisure, and prepare local meals of delicious freshwater fish. Rest away the hours of midday heat in a hammock, meet native tribes, and spy the forest’s wildlife treasures—monkeys, pigs, birds, macaws, and thousands more.
Admire the Sunset over the Lençóis Marahenses. The beauty of snow-white dunes interlaced with turquoise lagoons is incomparable. Travel to this national park of roughly 1500 square kilometers and marvel at the area’s natural, stark loveliness.
Salvador Bahia: The “Capital of Happiness,” Salvador is a popular carnival and party destination. Famed for easygoing inhabitants, vibrant music scene and colorful streets, it’s a fun and terrific stop on any tourist’s itinerary.
Spot Incredible Birds in the Pantanal. The Pantanal tropical wetland is famous for its avian diversity. The area sprawls over somewhere between a massive 54,000 and 75,000 square miles. Wander through the marshes on horseback and spot macaws, toucans, caimans, river otters, marsh deer, tapirs, red-footed tortoises, solitary eagles and capybaras. If you’re lucky, you may even spy the elusive jaguar and giant anteater.
Trek around the Iguaçu Falls. We mentioned the Falls in a previous post, but it definitely deserves multiple mentions. One of the world’s natural wonders, the waterfalls at Iguaçuspan three countries and consists of 275 cascades. Enjoy a number of activities such as helicopter flights, river-rafting, rappelling, or forest hikes.
Our agents have traveled to Brazil and arranged tours and flights for clients for years. Enjoy the country before the crowds of FIFA and the Olympics swarm to Rio! Call us at 800.821.0401 or email email@example.com for more information.
Iguazu Falls (a.k.a. Iguassu or Iguaçu) is a remarkable and natural collection of waterfalls located on the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Spanning over 2.7 kilometers of 275 cascading falls and with an average flow of 1.750 m3/s, the falls are an extraordinary add-on to any Latin American itinerary. To view the falls in their complete glory, they must be seen from both Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian side offers a sweeping, grandiose panorama while the Argentine side offers a closer, more in-depth look.
Tours. Trips to the waterfalls utilize trails and catwalks. You can also book a boat tour or a trip to the bird sanctuary. There are also options for helicopter flights, river-rafting, rappelling, visits to the hydroelectric Itaipu Dam, or hikes through the subtropical forest to the base of Salto Floriano. You can also take a cruise into the heart of the falls.
Entry and Transport. Journeys by land can be difficult, so it’s recommend to fly in from Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires to one of the towns on either side. Transport to and from the falls is by frequent bus or rental car. On the Argentine side, car is generally recommended because it allows for flexibility in traveling from your hotel to town, and farther to Brazil.
Where to Stay?Guests can either opt for the large Brazilian town of Foz do Iguacu or the small Argentine town of Puerto Iguazu. Within the park itself, there are only two properties: The Sheraton and the Hotel Das Cataratas.
The Sheraton: If there is one item you should splurge on in your Iguazu itinerary, it’s the Sheraton on the Argentina side. Guests can book rooms and suites with jungle and falls views over a private balcony. The new spa features a sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and an adjoining gym. Situated just 10 km from Puerto Iguazu airport and 20 km from Puerto Iguazu town, this hotel is a recommended option with unforgettable morning views of the falls.
Hotel Das Cataratas: A traditional luxury hotel with gourmet dining and an outdoor swimming pool. Perched on top of the falls on the Brazilian side, this is a gorgeous location, with an observation deck on the roof. They also offer excursions and activities bookable through the hotel.
Visas. Be advised that visas are required for US passport holders to visit Brazil—not available at the border, these must be arranged beforehand. EU passport holders typically do not need a visa.
Willamette Intl Travel offers customizable itineraries to Iguazu, and surrounding sites such as the Pantanal National Park, Buenos Aires, or Rio de Janeiro. We can arrange guided tours, cars, or hotels at your convenience. Phone us up or email us and we can discuss what itinerary works for you.
Interested in visiting the majestic Iguazu Falls? Call us at 503.224.0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.