Posts for South America Category

8 Reasons to Visit the USA this Spring

Central America, North America, South America, Travel Blog - Ross French - March 10, 2017

USA

The USA has a diverse climate, ranging from hot and humid to below freezing point. Many travellers who plan to visit America need to be well-informed about its varying climate. However, the spring months between March to May is a perfect time to visit the US.

Since each geographical region in the US is different, visitors can experience a generally mild and pleasant climate in all regions during spring time. In the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, spring is mild and beautiful. In the Central Plains region of Kansas and Nebraska, spring is short and pleasant, and in the Southeast states like Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, spring time is awash with colourful blooms.

Here are 8 great reasons to visit the USA this spring. Choose the most compelling reason, plan a trip well, take our travel insurance, and go have your spring adventure.

1.Portland Rose Festival – Portland, Oregon

Portland’s weather in April, May, and June brings spring showers to the city, which is why it is an ideal place for roses to thrive. Every year, the city of Portland celebrates spring with their signature festival, the Portland Rose Festival. Known as the “City of Roses”, you also get to see and smell thousands of rose varieties all-abloom at the International Rose Test Garden. In April, Portland also hosts the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, where visitors get to see 40 acres of tulips and daffodils in bloom in an event which also includes food, wine, and pony rides.

2.Historic Sights and Beautiful Beach – Cape May, New Jersey

Recognized as one of America’s best beaches, Cape May is a historical seaside town in New Jersey. Being one of the oldest resort towns in the US, the town is dotted with Victorian architecture and it is also a top bird-watching location. Spring is the best time to relax in this beach town, before the summer residents and holidaymakers descend.

3.National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington, D.C.

From late March to early April, the country’s capital Washington, D.C. is awash with wonderful cherry blossoms. This is why the city celebrates the National Cherry Blossom Festival every year. The mild weather is also perfect for bike rides, moonlit river cruises, and walking around the city where many attractions are free, including the National Archives and the Capitol building.

4.Yosemite National Park – California, USA

Spring time is the perfect season to view the stunning waterfalls at Yosemite National Park. Since warmer weather are starting to melt the snow, you will encounter the gushing falls at its most powerful as you hike through snow-free Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy, which are already snow-free by April. The tourist crowd has not arrived yet, so you get the feeling that you have the vast park to yourself. Weather in the Yosemite Valley is quite variable, though, and lightning-caused fires may sometimes occur. To protect yourself from these calamities, it is best to get proper travel insurance coverage before visiting the park.

5.Post Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana

When the revellers of Mardi Gras have come and gone, New Orleans still has a lot of fun. Springtime is the best time to visit with its cool weather and list of music festivals and outdoor concerts such as the French Quarter Fest. It is also great to walk around the city and see its best sights by foot. Spring is also crawfish season. You haven’t experienced New Orleans if you haven’t tried boiled crawfish!

6.Santa Fe, New Mexico

The weather in Santa Fe can get extremely hot in the summer, so spring time is an ideal time to visit and appreciate the city’s sweeping view of the desert and its artistic and cultural vibe. This city of art and culture is also an ideal place to visit if you’re into old churches, and interesting architecture.

7.Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is bordered with 1 million acres of forest land, and many people visit this place for its stunning skyline and sandstone colour palettes, which range from burnt orange to mustard yellow. Summer time is stifling hot, but March to May has ideal temperatures. The place is in full bloom with stunning desert flora, and it is an ideal time to engage in outdoor activities.

8.Great American Road trip – Skyline Drive, Virginia

America is known for its vast, scenic highways, and while there are many beautiful highways in this great country, one of the best routes to drive through in spring is 105 miles (169 kilometres) of Skyline Drive, which stretches through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Spring adds blooming flowers to the landscape. The National Park hosts the yearly Wildflower Weekend to showcase its more than 1,000 species of plants.

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Las Vegas Strip Map (Infographic)

South America, Travel Blog - Ross French - June 20, 2015

It’s generally hip to gather on the Strip. It’s the electric spine of a fabulous town that lives on chills, rushes and an enduring buzz. The Las Vegas Strip is by one means or another all that you anticipate that it will be, yet at the same time figures out how to astound. Bounce on and appreciate the ride.

Las Vegas

 

You’ll need to pick a home base – a spot to store your bag and change into your gathering shoes. There are a mixed bag of Las Vegas Strip inns for each taste, subject and value point. What’s more, they’re all advantageous to pretty much everything. On the Strip, area is everything. The Strip is everything. What’s more, every area is incredible.

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Barbados: Proof that a Caribbean Holiday Can be Enjoyed on the Cheap?

South America, Travel Tips - Ross French - November 5, 2013

As many seasoned holidaymakers will probably be aware, the Caribbean is bathed in sunshine for most of the year. People visit this part of the world and its many islands for romantic getaways, family holidays and life-changing experiences, but what often puts people off visiting is the cost. Fortunately, some countries are cheaper to visit than others without compromise.

FLICKR Image: Lonely Lighthouse in Barbados

A prime example is Barbados, which is one of the more popular countries with foreign visitors. Visitors come here in their millions annually, although it lives in the shadow of neighbouring countries like Jamaica and Bermuda. As a result, holidays are typically cheaper here, but they’re no less exciting to go on for a variety of reasons.

Sand and Sea

Central to Barbados’ charms is what you can do on the beach. Aside from getting a suntan, it’s also possible to try a few waterborne activities such as swimming, diving, scuba diving and snorkelling. The beaches are also within easy reach of some of the main resorts where there are bars, hotels, restaurants and shops in which you can spend a little time when you’re not so adrenaline-fuelled.

FLICKR Image: Sunset Beach in Barbados

In St Lawrence, the Barbadian capital, retail therapy is on tap, and you might be surprised at how cheap it is. As an example, a bottle of beer will cost you just £2, which is far less than what you might expect to pay on some other Caribbean islands. Visiting one of the many rum shacks isn’t too expensive either, especially if you just want a nightcap.

Sporting Life

Barbados is one of the best places in the entire region to watch sport. The Kensington Oval, one of the West Indies’ main cricket grounds, hosts world-class tests and league games. Meanwhile, there are several golf courses where you can play a round while basking in the sunshine, plus there’s also Garrison Savannah racecourse if you like a bit of horse racing.

Image Credit: Saint Christopher Island Beach at St Kitts

Some of Barbados’ neighbours including Trinidad & Tobago and St Kitts & Nevis offer similar value for money without skimping on things to see and do as well. In fact, the further south you go down the Caribbean, the more likely you are to find a great-value holiday to your liking.

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Top 3 Walking Trails in South America

South America, Travel Tips - Ross French - October 4, 2012

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Being home to dramatic landscapes and fascinating ancient sites, South America is a fantastic destination for walking. If you are interested in going hiking here, read our guide to the top routes to follow.

The Inca Trail
A trek that really needs no introduction, the Inca Trail is arguably the most famous of all South America’s walks. Following an ancient route to the lost city of Machu Picchu, this incredible path will see you walk through stunning mountain landscapes dotted with a number of other amazing ancient sites, such as the Phuyupatamarka ruins.

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This world-famous track can be covered in just four days and is not too strenuous – with the exception of certain particularly high sections, such as Dead Woman’s Pass – for seasoned walkers. Beginning at an altitude of approximately 2,800 m at the Urubamba river near the Inca site of Ollantaytambo, the trail will see you ascend to 4,200 m at the Warmiwanusca Pass (the official name for the aforementioned Dead Woman’s Pass), before descending once more to reach Machu Picchu.

This awe-inspiring Inca city is the real highlight of an Inca Trail trek. Comprising temples, palaces, dwellings and stairways, it is even more impressive due to its harmonious design with the local landscape. In fact, it looks almost as if it has sprung naturally from the mountainside. Your first glimpse of the city will be from Inti Punku, which is also known as the Gate of the Sun, so make sure you have your camera at the ready here.

Torres Del Paine Circuit
If you are more interested in discovering staggering natural landscapes than ancient ruins, the Torres Del Paine Circuit in Patagonia is the perfect choice. This hike will take you to some of the most exciting sights in Torres Del Paine National Park over the course of eight days, including the famous three gigantic monoliths of the Torres Del Paine themselves.

This route is packed full of incredible experiences, but among the best are:
• Reaching Lago Paine, as this will give you a stunning view of the Paine Massif’s north side
• Walking along the Los Perros river, when you will also have the chance to wander through age-old virgin beech forests
• Reaching John Gardner Pass, as at 1,241 m this is the highest point of the circuit
• Seeing the south Patagonia ice cap and Glacier Greg. The latter is an absolutely huge blanket of ice covering a vast chunk of the valley – and it really does have to be seen to be believed

Roraima Hike
The final top walking trail in South America is the Roraima Hike in Venezuela. This six-day trek will see you walk to Mount Roraima, one of the planet’s oldest geological structures, before ascending to its summit. Interestingly, this is believed to be the site that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.

A rather strenuous route, it is best for experienced walkers who are prepared to carry luggage – including clothing and sleeping bags – while making their ascent. You will trek for two days to a base camp at the bottom of the mountain, before hiking to the top to explore the eerie summit, which is punctuated with large rocks balanced in precarious-looking positions, black moss-covered pillars and quartz crystals. In fact, the landscape here is so strange that local folklore has it that this is the home of the gods.

These are just some of the wonderful walks to tackle in South America. Many companies offer a wealth of itineraries in the region, alongside the above.

Matt Cook enjoys travelling and cycling which helps in his role of eCommerce Manager for Adventure Travel company Explore.
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